The backyard offers a world of fun for children. Playgrounds offer even more
chances for adventure. But the fun can end abruptly when someone gets hurt.
That’s one reason the American Academy of Pediatrics reminds parents to
supervise children’s outdoor play, even at home.
To protect your kids from injuries, keep these backyard and playground
safetytips in mind.
When Eleilia Preston gave birth to her first child, the last thing she
worried about was lead in toys.
The stay-at-home mom, who describes herself as "over-the-edge
careful," made sure that little Megan was always within eyesight. She
documented each bite her daughter ate and washed all her toys, several times a
That's why Preston, 29, was so shocked when doctors diagnosed the toddler
with lead poisoning.
At 21 months, Megan far exceeded every developmental milestone for her age
Check to see that your fences are sturdy and in good repair — free from
splinters and rust — and that toddlers cannot open gates.
Store hoses after each use so children don’t trip over them.
Hang ladders in a shed or garage so children cannot climb or play on
Keep pathways clear of toys so that no one (including you!) trips over
Make sure children are indoors when you are using a lawnmower or other
potentially dangerous tools such as a saw, hedge trimmer, or weed whacker.
Keep all garden tools out of children’s reach, and store them with tines,
blades, or spikes pointing downward.
The key to playground safety is supervision.Unsupervised play is associated
with 40 percent of playground injuries, according to the National Safe Kids
Campaign. Keep an eye on your kids and put a stop to any pushing or
roughhousing on playground equipment.
Here are some additional guidelines for playground safety:
Choose sturdy age-appropriate play sets, not swings and climbers that your
child will “grow into.”
Install play equipment on level ground and make sure it cannot tip
Place equipment at least 6 feet away from walls, fences, trees, and other
obstacles to allow for safe “landings.”
Use soft protective surfacing, such as wood chips, mulch, or rubber
matting, under all equipment. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a
9-inch deep layer of protection that extends six feet beyond the
Check the equipment quarterly for wear, and repair loose, jagged or
splintering parts. Also, make sure that all screws and bolts are tight — they
can loosen over time.
Never attach ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines, or pet leashes to playground
equipment. Children can strangle on them.
During summer, check play surfaces to make sure they are not so hot that
they could cause burns.
Periodically check for equipment recalls with the U.S. Consumer Product
Safety Commission. You can find their web site at http://www.cpsc.gov, or call 1-800-638-2772.