Even playgrounds that are designed, installed and maintained in accordance with safety guidelines and standards can still present hazards to children in the absence of adequate supervision. Because all playgrounds present some challenge and because children can be expected to use equipment in unintended and unexpected ways, adult supervision is highly recommended. Not all playground equipment is appropriate for all children who may use the playground. Direct children to age-appropriate activities. Supervisors should be aware that the playground equipment is designed based on the most current version of ASTM standard F1487. The age-appropriateness of the equipment is also set based on this standard. The range of users encompassed by this consumer safety performance specification is the 5th percentile 2-year-old through the 95th percentile 12-year-old. It is important to recognize that preschool-age children require more attentive supervision on playground equipment than older children.Following these recommendations will help minimize accidents and injury to children while playing, but will not eliminate them entirely. Always remember that hazards can be eliminated - but risk can not.
Supervisors should understand the basics of playground safety such as:
- Checking for broken equipment and making sure children don’t play on it.
- Checking for and removing unsafe modifications, especially ropes tied to equipment before letting children play.
- Checking for properly maintained protective surfacing.
- Making sure children are wearing footwear.
- Watching and stopping dangerous horseplay, such as children throwing protective surface materials, jumping from heights, etc.
- Watching for and stopping children from wandering away from the play area.
- Not permitting the use of wet playground equipment. Wet equipment will not provide the necessary traction and gripping capability. Slips or falls may occur.
- Constantly observing play patterns to note possible hazardous play and overcrowding on playground equipment.
- Making sure children do not wear loose clothing, hoods,drawstrings or jewelry while on the playground equipment.These items could pose a strangulation/entanglement hazard.
- Checking to see that play surfaces are at an acceptable temperature before allowing children to play on them.
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