The sun is shining and summer has officially arrived, so where do the kids want to be? The playground, of course! However, with the hot sun shining down in the summer months, there are a few safety concerns parents have to be aware of before loading up the kids and hitting the swings.
Perhaps you often visit the neighborhood park or maybe it’s the swing set in the back yard; either way, you must make sure your children are safe. There are a few precautions and tips to consider when spending the day on the playground.
- Watch your children. If your kids are going to the playground with friends, be there as a chaperone or make sure an adult will be there to supervise them. As long as you can see and hear them, you will be able to act quickly should something happen. Give them perimeters of where they can play, if they want to move on to another spot then move with them, always keeping a visual.
- Be aware of any debris. Playgrounds are meant as a place for children to go let loose and have fun; however, public spaces can accumulate debris. Make sure that if there is anything lying around on the playground like cigarette butts or other garbage, your children know to stay away from it or throw it in the trash can.
- Avoid the playground when the sun is at its peak. Limit playground time when the sun is at its hottest, usually between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Heading to the playground during peak hours could increase the chances of your child becoming sunburned or possibly dehydrated.
- Make sure to keep everyone hydrated. Speaking of being dehydrated, it is important to remember to drink lots of water on hot days. Be sure to pack a water bottle or two and make the kids take frequent water breaks in between their playing. Usually you will find a water fountain at parks, make sure to take advantage and always fill up your bottle!
- Always apply sunblock. The sun is strong, so even if it looks like the clouds are blocking it or you are under shade, be sure to thoroughly apply and reapply sunblock. You can even go a step further to block the sun with protective clothing like a hat or sunglasses. Make it fun for them so they will want to wear their favorite “playground hat” or “special sunglasses.”
- Always be aware of the actual temperature of playground equipment. Your weather app it may say 85 degrees, but for the metal monkey bars that have been baking in the sun all day, it may be a lot hotter. The structures on the playground (especially metal) will soak up the heat from the sun, so be sure to always check the playground equipment before the children take to it.
- Steer clear of hard playground exteriors. Think of the monkey bars on a playground, what is usually directly under them? Mulch, a rubber surface, or a soft mat to cushion a fall. Make sure to avoid any playground structure that is built directly on concrete. If a child was to fall, the risk of injury would greatly increase.
- Be aware of any animals or bugs around. Be sure to bring bug spray along with you. Make sure your children know what a bees nest looks like and if you see bees or bugs around avoid the area. Also, make sure your children know not to run up and approach any animal/pet without yours or the owner’s permission.
- Make sure your children are dressed appropriately. For starters, make sure they have the right shoes on to be running around and playing. If those shoes have laces, be sure that they are tucked in, but be cautious of wearing any piece of clothing to the playground that has laces or material that hangs off of clothing, as it can easily get caught and cause a fall or injury.
- Be aware of the child’s age. There are many different structures and activities on the playground and they can range from being designed with young children to adolescent children in mind. Be aware of what your child can handle and what equipment is appropriate for her/him. You want them to have fun and try new things, but most importantly you want them to be safe.
- Last but most certainly not least, HAVE FUN! Summer is a great time of year, get the kids out of the house, go on an adventure, just be sure to always be safe!