Play It Safe This Summer: Play Set Safety Tips For The Whole Family
From backyard tree houses, to jungle gyms, to neighborhood playgrounds, kids will be climbing and swinging all summer long. However, it’s important for parents to be aware of the potential dangers associated with play sets. Each year, more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger go to the emergency room for play set-related injuries. That’s why Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a leading product safety testing organization, put together these easy-to-follow safety tips to help families “play it safe” this summer.
BEFORE INSTALLING A BACKYARD PLAY SET…
•Make sure your backyard is large enough for playground equipment. The site should also provide good visibility and security. Before setting up equipment, look out for obstacles, such as the garage, tree branches, utility poles and wires.
•Read and follow the manufacturer’s directions when setting up play set equipment. Be sure your child’s weight and age fall within the manufacturer’s recommended limits for the equipment.
•Install protective surfacing, such as rubber tiles or mulch under the play set, at least six feet in all directions, to prevent serious injuries should a child fall.
BEFORE HEADING OUT TO PLAY…
•Carefully inspect backyard playground equipment. Make sure equipment is anchored safely in the ground, all equipment pieces are in good working order, S-hooks are entirely closed and bolts are not protruding.
•Check for spaces that could trap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs. These spaces should measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.
•Always supervise children on play set equipment to make sure they are playing safely. •Never attach ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines, pet leashes or cords of any kind to play set equipment. If used improperly, they can be potential strangulation hazards.
•Watch for potential trip hazards, such as rocks, tree stumps and concrete footings. Make sure your children are aware of them as well.
•Do a sandbox check. Before letting your child dig in, rake through the sand to check for debris or sharp objects. Also, inspect for any animal contamination or insect problems.
Let’s keep our kids safe and I hope all of you are enjoying your summer!