Sometimes, an enjoyable day at the park can turn sour due to a scraped knee – or even worse, a broken arm. When you and your children head to the playground, it’s essential to keep a watchful eye. After all, you never know when they’ll decide to jump off a ladder or run down a slide.
Make sure that your afternoon goes as planned with these helpful safety tips.
1. Locate Harmful Objects
An ideal playground offers different safety standards. There should be shock-absorbent rubber mats and wood chips, not gravel or concrete. Similarly, staircases and openings need to have guardrails. If your child falls, she won’t get too hurt because of these measures.
When you first arrive at a playground, make sure to check for broken equipment. Also, the area around the park should be free of sharp objects, like rusty fences. If a location appears unkempt, you may want to visit another place. It’s also necessary to look for insects. An unseen bee’s or wasp’s nest can create a lot of issues. Spider webs aren’t so scary, but they may cause your child to panic.
You shouldn’t expect a playground to be pristine, but if it doesn’t align with a few basics, it’s probably time to leave.
2. Watch the Weather
An unexpected rainstorm can ruin your day – and induce a few accidents. If equipment becomes too wet or cold, your kids could slip and fall. Or, hot plastic and metal may cause a burn. It’s important to clarify that the weather won’t be overly chilly or toasty. A mild forecast works best, as kids can work up a sweat while they play. As a side note, a change of clothes is always beneficial!
Check for potentially hazardous spots before your children climb onto them. For example, a quick touch test on a swing seat can tell you if it’s too warm to use at that moment. Ask your kids to be extra cautious when the weather’s a bit iffy. In other words, they should use their best judgment – a valuable life lesson!
When all else fails, it’s better to head home than to risk an injury.
3. Maintain Supervision
Now’s not the time to crack open a book. Unless you have older children, it’s necessary to maintain close supervision. Typically, about 40% of playground injuries relate to a lack of oversight. So, you’ll want to stay observant at all times. Of course, you won’t always be able to see past certain structures. But if you can watch out for your kids most of the time, that’s better than not at all!
You don’t want to hover, but you should sustain a somewhat close presence. If possible, head to the playground with another parent and their children. This way, you can catch up and supervise together at the same time. It’s also important to look for unkind interactions between kids as well.
4. Encourage Kind Play Tactics
It isn’t easy for young children to play respectfully. After all, they’ll pull out every stop to play with a toy that isn’t theirs. To prevent meltdowns and encourage kindness, you’ll want to teach your kids a few play tactics. These include manners and mindfulness.
For instance, when your child wants to go down a slide, they shouldn’t push past everyone. Instead, they need to wait their turn patiently. You should apply the same idea to other equipment. Or, if there’s a basketball game, your kids need to ask if they can join rather than jump in. As always, no one should ever hit or punch to get what they want.
Try to implement these behaviors as soon as possible. Then, your children can enjoy a wonderful time at the playground.
5. Come Prepared
At the end of the day, an injury could still happen – even if you follow every one of these steps. That’s why it’s crucial to prepare ahead of time.
Before you leave the house, pack a bag with a few essentials, like healthy snacks and water bottles. This way, your children stay well-fed and hydrated. You’ll also want to bring a first aid kit that includes adhesive bandages and antibiotic treatment. Gauze pads and medical tape may come in handy, too. You can store this kit in your car so that it’s ready to go whenever you need it.
You should also take bug spray and sunscreen, along with a blanket and toys. Whether you want to spend an hour or an afternoon at the park, these items are lifesavers.
Follow These Tips for an Enjoyable Playground Experience
When your children have a safe playground experience, it’s also a ton of fun. Unfortunately, accidents do happen. But if you’re prepared enough to follow these tips, you’ll be able to address problems right away – and enjoy your day thoroughly.