Steps to ensure playground safety for children

Playing in parks and playgrounds is essential for children’s healthy upbringing. It stimulates their body and mind, gives them much needed exercise but if proper child safety is not practiced it can result in cuts, bumps, bruises, scraped knees, broken bones, injury from broken bottles or even worse. Children need freedom to have fun and explore the world around them, however safety always comes first.

Check park maintenance

In parks that are not properly maintained, the long unkempt grass can hide a myriad of insect and snake species and rusty swings and play equipment can cause serious injuries to your children. Always take your children to parks that are well maintained. The grass should be properly cut and swings should be in good repair.

Before allowing children to run amok, check for protruding nails, splinters, rusty chains, broken planks or gaping holes.

Keep a close watch

Keep a close eye on the number of children on one particular swing. This might save your child from any unexpected push or jerk from behind. In case of a younger child, always stand near the swing or ride. Never let your child stand in the path of a swing. The wooden plank can strike against head or back while swinging causing serious injury.

Keep a look out for stray dogs if the area is not properly enclosed. Always accompany your child to public toilets.

Disallow expensive items in playgrounds

Sometimes older children have a penchant for showing off or displaying their newly gained belongings. Girls might wear real gold lockets, anklets, bracelets etc. and boys usually bring mobile phones, cash filled wallets, watches and game consoles to playgrounds for the sole purpose of bragging and drawing attention to themselves. As parents you must put your foot down hard on this tendency.

In public areas, children should blend in with the crowd and not stand out on the basis of their designer clothes and expensive accessories. In doing so they are at risk of incurring jealousy of other children which can manifest itself in ugly and petty ways. They are also in danger of being deprived of their valuables by older kids or pickpockets. Predators usually lurk in such places and mark their would-be seemingly rich victims.

Always keep them in sight

Some children might consider it violation of their human rights but the best way to keep children safe is to keep them under constant supervision. This does not mean that they have to stay in your lap all the time. If you are taking them to a park, fun land or any other open air activity, lay the ground rules first. Choose a seat from where you have a clear, unobstructed view of your children and tell them that are not to wander beyond that point.

One successful ploy is telling the children that you feel lost and scared without them. So after every few minutes they will come back to check on you and let you know where they are going next, It makes them feel important and they want to prove that they are responsible enough to take their mom to the park and keep an eye on her too. As long as both parties are happy, safe and have a good time, the technicalities do not matter.

Designate a meeting point

For older children it might be helpful to designate a special point beforehand. It could be the Ferris wheel or the large bouncing castle or Booth Number 13 or any other point that towers above others and can be easily seen. If separated, they could head for that area and wait for you to find them.

Group supervision

There is always safety in numbers. Help your child make friends and then appoint a time to ride to the park and play together. Appoint an older child as the leader who sees to it that no one gets left behind. Parents can also take turns to oversee a group of children each day of the week.

Stranger Danger

From a very young age, children must be taught that they should never talk to strangers nor accept toys, gifts or sweets from them. Any offer to show “something amazing” in the automobile, car trunk, or a nearby house by a stranger must be turned down firmly.

They should never trust a stranger who comes up to them and offers to take them home. Children must know that no matter how big an emergency, their parents would never leave them stranded in a playground without informing them or making alternate arrangements for their well-being.

Ensuring your child’s safety outside the house ultimately rests on the bond of friendship, trust and love and strong communication between you and your child. If children are obstinate and refuse to adhere to rules set by you, discipline them by taking away a few privileges but make them understand that certain rules exist to ensure their safety and there will be no compromise on them.