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5 Playground Safety Tips for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Most schools are closed today to honor the birth of famed civil rights activist, Martin Luther King, Jr. If you’re taking time off to spend a day with your little ones, a trip to the park is the perfect thing to keep them entertained and out of trouble. But playgrounds are the cause of many childhood injuries, including some very serious ones.

According to a study by the CDC, public playground injuries occur more often on climbers than on any other equipment, while on home playgrounds, swings are responsible for a greater number of problems. Yet another study found that children ages 5 to 9 have higher rates of emergency room visits for playground injuries than any other age group.

That being said, there are several things you can do to help minimize your child’s risks when they’re ready to head out for an afternoon of fun. Consider the following five tips, to best enjoy the holiday:

1. Before you play, check the equipment.
First, examine the equipment itself. Slides should be clear of debris and rust, swing chains and seats secure. Ladders and handrails should be sturdy and firmly attached. Also check the ground around the play area. Is it clean and made of a shock absorbing material that can help insulate against falls? Dense mats and shredded rubber are safest, though sand and woodchips are also considered appropriate substrates.

2. Choose age appropriate playgrounds.
Not all playgrounds are created equal. Make sure that the play space you choose has plenty of activities for your child’s age range. Separated, age-appropriate spaces may make an outing more challenging for larger families, but well-designed areas ensure that parents can observe all parties without inciting older children to play on equipment meant for younger siblings…and vice versa.

3. Set expectations for behavior before heading out.
Before they get carried away, sit your kids down for a quick talk about their responsibilities on the playground. This can include directions on how they are expected to behave, as well as reminders on how to safely use slides, swings, or whatever activities they enjoy most. The best approach is to keep expectations simple, and be clear and follow through with the consequences if your child gets carried away.

4. Pay Attention.
It sounds obvious, but adult supervision is key to ensuring kids’ safety on the playground. If you’re taking your kids on an outing, leave the phone in your purse and the book in the car. Not only will interacting with kids (and other parents) make for a more relaxing and rewarding experience, but it will be safer for everyone overall.

5. Injuries happen, so be prepared.
Pediatricians suggest keeping a playground first aid kit on hand, tailored to common injuries like scrapes, falls, and concussions.

Though these tips are meant for the playground, accidents can happen anywhere, including your own home. If someone is injured severely, your first priority is their care. Make your second priority your home – by protecting the health and safety of your whole family with trauma cleanup from Aftermath Services. Our nationwide team of technicians is on call 24/7 to provide you with compassionate, professional services. Call 877-872-4339 to learn more.

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