Do you have a favorite playground? Maybe it's a new wooden one that has lots of tall towers and passageways. Or maybe your favorite is an old-fashioned playground with swings and a seesaw. Playgrounds are fun places for kids because there's so much to do and other kids to have fun with.
But sometimes kids get hurt at playgrounds. That's no fun, so here are 10 ways to keep safe:
- Take a grown-up. As kids get bigger, they like doing things on their own. Going to the playground shouldn't be one of them, though. Grown-ups come in handy because they might spot problems at the playground, they can help you down if you get in a tight spot, and they can help if you happen to get hurt.
- Take a good look around. If the playground has lots of trash, such as broken glass, or the equipment looks broken, don't play there.
- Keep your size in mind. Many playgrounds have some equipment that's for little kids (like 2- to 5-year-olds) and other equipment that's meant for older kids. Use the equipment that's right for your age. If you squeeze yourself onto a swing for toddlers, you might get stuck. Likewise, if your little brother or sister starts climbing something meant for older kids, guide him or her to the little kid stuff.
- Don't go too high. Many playgrounds have tall stuff to play on, such as towers or open passageways between equipment. Don't climb higher than you feel comfortable, and feel free to ask your grown-up if you need help getting down. Never climb up the outside of equipment, or hoist yourself up on the roof. The view might be cool, but it's a long way down.
- Look out below. The best playgrounds put down special surfacing material, such as mulch, wood chips, sand, gravel, or rubber matting. These surfaces can help soften a fall, but that doesn't mean you won't get hurt, especially if you tumble from a high spot.
- Swing safely. Kids often get hurt at the playground because they get hit by someone on a swing. If you're swinging, watch out for people who might be getting too close. And if you're walking around the playground, don't get too close to the swingers.
- Use your head. Sometimes you'll see kids going headfirst down the slide or maybe two or three kids will get on a piece of equipment that's only meant for one. Or some kids might start goofing around and trying to push each other off a swing or off of a high spot. If your grown-up sees you doing this, he or she will probably say, "Knock it off. Someone's going to get hurt." It's true, so try to use the playground equipment properly. And if you get stuck, or don't know how to get down from something, call your grown-up over so he or she can help you down.
- Report problems. If you see graffiti (when people write or paint on stuff), a broken swing, or find any other problems while you're playing, tell your grown-up. He or she can report the problem so it can be fixed.
- Clean up. If you bring a drink or snack to the playground, clean up your trash before you leave. When you do, the park will look nice when the next kid comes along to play and you will have shown that you're a good playground citizen.
- Have a great time! How can you make a good time at the playground even better? Bring a friend and only complain a little when it's time to leave.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: May 2008