When the weather is nice, children playing and having fun at the playground is a great recreational activity.
Playgrounds are designed to help children develop and improve their coordination, strength, and flexibility. According to the Canadian Paediatric Society
, every year across Canada, an estimated 28,500 children are treated in emergency departments and hospitals for playground-related injuries.
The majority of injuries are due to falls from the equipment causing mostly broken bones, spinal injuries and concussions. Parents and caregivers need to supervise young children, and make sure that:
- Equipment is safe: verify that spaces are less than 9 cm (3.5 inches) or greater than 23 cm (9 inches) to prevent the risk of the entrapment of your child’s head and neck.
- Equipment is working properly.
- Equipment has handrails, barriers and railings.
- Equipment has no sharp edges or bolts that protrude.
- Surfaces under playground equipment have loosely packed sand, wood chips, pea gravel, mulch or shredded rubber to lessen the impact of a fall. The depth of the surfaces must be at least 30 cm (12 inches) for equipment 1-2 m (3-6 feet) high and at least 15 cm (6 inches) for equipment less than 1 m (3 feet) high.
- There is no broken glass or other sharp objects in the area.
- Your child is not wearing clothing with drawstrings or cords.
- Your child is NOT wearing bicycle helmets on the equipment.
- Your child uses the play equipment only for its intended purpose.
- Your child uses age-appropriate equipment that does not exceed their motor abilities.
Reviewed by Trauma specialists at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
Last updated: June 2012