Playgrounds are the place to be on a sunny day, as they are fun for kids and keep them active. However, during the Summer months — when the sun is hottest and strongest — there are quite a few safety concerns to consider before packing the kids up to swing on the monkey bars all day.
If you frequent your local playground in the Summer — or have one in your own backyard — consider these nine safety tips to ensure that playtime is safe.
- Note the temperature of the equipment. If the playground isn’t in shade, the surfaces of slides and other equipment will absorb the sun’s heat. Check surfaces before your children begin playing and routinely throughout the day to avoid burns.
- Keep it age-appropriate. Most playgrounds are for children that range in age and mix in all types of equipment. Note what your child is developmentally ready for, and be sure to speak to them about safety and hazards before letting them play.
- Avoid hard playground surfaces. Most playground injuries are related to falls. Playground surfaces should be anchored over wood chips, pebbles, rubber mats, or other soft surfaces to cushion falls.
- Keep kiddos hydrated. Because playgrounds are often away from home, be sure to pack water bottles to keep kids hydrated on hot days (and so you don’t have to stop the fun just to leave for a water break!).
- Use sunscreen. Even if the playground is partially shaded, make sure kiddos are appropriately covered with a safe sunscreen (be sure to avoid harmful ones!). Don’t forget a pair of sunglasses to protect their eyes as well!
- Limit play during peak hours. Between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. is when damaging UV rays are at their highest, the temperatures are hottest, and your child’s chances of becoming dehydrated and sunburned increase. Avoid excessive active play during those hours.
- Tie shoelaces and tuck in loose clothing. Ensuring laces are always tied to avoid injuries resulting from tripping or getting caught on equipment, and remove any hoodie or jacket strings to prevent the possibility of strangulation.
- Look out for bee/wasp nests. If you see a bee or wasp fly into a piece of the equipment, there could be a nest hidden, which could be aggravated by kids running and jumping around the area.
- Always stay where you can see and hear your children. Regardless of age, an adult should be present while kids use the playground to watch for hazards or to respond to an emergency or injury.