The National Safe Kids Campaign reports that each year approximately 200,000 children under the age of 14 sustain injuries while in a playground. Playgrounds are a great way to keep children entertained; however, because of the various equipment offered within playground areas, specific safety issues must be addressed. Slides are popular playground attachments and come in a variety of shapes and designs. By following different safety precautions, children can decrease their risk of being involved in an accident or sustaining an injury.
Types of Slide Injuries
Children that play on slides are at an increased risk of receiving injuries. The most commonly received injuries include bone fractures and breaks, dislocations and concussions. The majority of these accidents occur when children climb the wrong way up the slide or are not careful when climbing the ladder.
Climbing the Slide
To reach the top of the slide safely children are required to climb up a ladder. Injuries can be received if proper climbing techniques are not used. When climbing the slide’s ladder ensure that your child is holding the rail at all times and is stepping one rung at a time until he reaches the top. Under no circumstances should two children climb the slide’s ladder at the same time. This will increase the chances of children falling and sustaining serious injuries.
Going Down the Slide
When children are going down the slide, ensure that there are no other people or obstacles blocking the slide’s exit point. The general playground rule is that no child should start to slide until the exit point is clear from the previous slider. Never allow children to run up the slide in the opposite direction, as they will be at an increased risk of getting hit by another child or slipping and falling.
Slides should not be used when wet or icy, as they becoming slippery. If the slide is wet, dry it before sliding down. Sliding down a wet or icy slide could be extremely dangerous as your child could experience an uncontrolled exit when reaching the end.
Inspect the playground's cushioning to determine if it will absorb any impact your child may experience. To determine if the cushioning is adequate around the slide, check for impact-absorbing material on the ground. Sand, bark chips or rubber tiles are just some of the types of materials that can help absorb the shock of a falling child.