According to Westbend Insurance, over 500,000 children a year are injured on playgrounds; 100,000 to 200, 000 of those injuries require emergency room care. Moreover, most injuries occur on climbing equipment, while most injuries occur on home or private playgrounds.
To assure safe outdoor play, West Bend insurance recommends that child care programs create loss prevention strategies and they are as follows:
- Check that protective surfacing extends at least six feet in all directions from play equipment.
- Make sure structures more than 30 inches tall are spaced at least 9 feet apart.
- Check for dangerous hardware, like open “S” hooks or protruding bolt ends.
- Make sure spaces that could trap children, like guardrail opening or ladder rungs, measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.
- Check for sharp points or edges in equipment.
- Look out for tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.
- Make sure elevated surfaces, like platforms and ramps, have guardrails to prevent falls.
- Check playgrounds regularly to see that equipment and surfacing are in good condition.
- Carefully supervise children on playgrounds to make sure they’re safe.
- Make sure there is at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand and/or pea gravel around the playground equipment.
Evaluate your playground using this criteria provided by the National Program for Playground Safety:
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