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Children's Health

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Attention Parents: Be Sure Backyard Play Sets Are Safe


Wolfson tells WebMD that safe home playground areas should have the following features:

  • Shock-absorbing material, such as rubber or mulch, 9 inches deep around the equipment.
  • Swing seats made of soft rubber, not hard wood.
  • Ladder rungs with more than 9 inches or less than 3.5 inches of space between them, to prevent children from getting stuck.
  • Covers on all protruding bolts.
  • No additional ropes or cords attached to the play set.

If parents find they need to make some changes, they should make them "immediately, not next weekend, not next summer," said Darryl Hammond, CEO of KaBOOM!, which promotes safe playgrounds and has built or improved hundreds of them across the country. It's worth it to "spend a little more time and maybe a little more money up front" to avoid having to take your child to the emergency room, he added.

Meanwhile, the Senate Commerce Committee voted on Thursday to reject president Bush's nominee, Mary Sheila Gall, to head the CPSC. The Democrats had opposed her nomination at a confirmation hearing two weeks ago.

Reportedly, the Republicans are trying to find a way to force Brown to step down from her position and replace her with a candidate favored by President Bush. Brown, who was appointed by President Clinton, said she had no idea how the Republican challenge would affect her future with the agency.

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