What child doesn’t like playing with capes? Capes are all about flying high with your imagination. C.A.P.E.S. are also a great way to remember 5 important tips about playground safety:
- C – clothing
- A – age
- P – playground
- E – equipment
- S – supervision
Before you and your child run out to the nearest playground, make sure he or she is dressed for the occasion. Toddlers and tweens alike can look fabulous, stay warm and be sturdy all at the same time — without putting themselves in harm’s way with clothing that’s inappropriate for play. Avoid:
- Shoes without rubber soles
- Scarves or any item of clothing that has loose strings
- Jackets that fly open easily
- Zippers that have protruding edges
- Hats that are not securely tied-on
- Accessories like bracelets and necklaces that can easily catch onto things
Take a good, long look at every corner of a playground before you send your child off to play. If there is equipment that is not age-appropriate, take the time to point those structures out to your child, even if you are staying near them while they play. Talk to your kids while you point out and orient them in a new play area. The more they consider and respond to questions you ask about the playground, the better they’ll be at making smart choices with or without you. If your child is under 5, it’s always best to find a playground that separates them from stronger, older kids.
The ground part is more important than you think. Inspect the area beneath a play structure. Make sure there are no improper surfaces or areas that are hazardous due to construction or weather – like ice, water, slush. Sand and rubber surfaces are great. Old playgrounds that are built on top of concrete are cruising for a bruising. Give them a miss if you can.
It may sound obvious, but if any part of the playground equipment is broken or in disrepair – point that out to your child and avoid it. 200,000 kids are treated in hospitals every year because of carelessness. Inspect slides, swings, bridges, ropes, bars, etc. Make sure everything is solid and steady.
Playgrounds are notorious environments for mishaps. Keeping an eye out for trouble is imperative. This is not a directive to be overbearing – and it’s not a good idea to crawl inside of a tunnel meant for 6 year-old kids. But there’s always a nice balance. Small kids tend to get run over, or put the wrong things into their mouths. Bigger kids tend to get overexcited and fights erupt. Adult supervision helps dismantle bad situations before they get out of control. Be present while you are present.
Still, Accidents Happen
“Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for all children ages 0 to 19. Every day, approximately 8,000 children are treated in U.S. emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. This adds up to almost 2.8 million children each year. Children fall from windows, down stairs, off furniture, from bikes, while skating, and off outdoor play equipment. Each year more than 200,000 children are injured on America’s playgrounds; a child is injured every two and a half minutes. Most playground injuries relate to age appropriateness and involve children younger than 5 years playing on equipment designed for children who are 5 or older.”
Sometimes, little ones don’t like to follow the rules, and whether yours is a daredevil or a bit clumsy, there is a good possibility accidents will happen. In these moments, don’t panic. Assess any injuries and determine if your child needs basic first aid or a doctor’s visit. If you find yourself seeking a first-aid remedy for minor bumps and bruises, try Arnica montana – it is safe for kids and easy to use in a pinch!