PLAYING AT THE playground is a rite of passage, but it doesn’t come without risks.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported hospital emergency departments see more than 20,000 children aged 14 and younger for playground-related traumatic brain injuries each year.
The National Safety Council offers these suggestions for evaluating a playground:
Check out ground surfaces, which should be at least 12 inches deep and made of wood chips, mulch, wood fiber, sand, pea gravel or rubber mats.
The area under and near equipment where a child might fall should be a minimum of 6 feet in all directions.
Beware of hardware that could injure a child. Examples include bolts, hooks and rungs.
Also watch for things that could catch on clothing. Children should never wear drawstring hoodies at the playground.
To avoid trapping your child’s head, there should be no openings that measure between 3 1/2 and 9 inches.
Swings should be set far enough away from other equipment that kids won’t be hit by a moving swing.
Children under age 4 shouldn’t play on climbing equipment or horizontal ladders.
Spring-loaded seesaws are best for young kids. Avoid adjustable seesaws with chains because kids can crush their hands under the chains.
Avoid metal or wooden swing seats in favor of softer materials.
Watch for sharp edges on equipment.
Ski and Snowboard Safely With Your Kids
Skiing and snowboarding are great ways to keep your family active during the cold winter months, and for most, people tend to ski during the Spring Break holidays in March.
To make sure you’re keeping up with as much time on the slopes, it’s also important to schedule breaks to go inside and warm up.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these suggestions for skiing or snowboarding with your children:
Children should be taught to ski or snowboard by a qualified instructor in a program designed for children.
Never ski or snowboard alone. Young children should always be supervised by an adult.
Older children’s need for adult supervision depends on their maturity and skill. If older children are not with an adult, they should always be accompanied by a friend.
All skiers and snowboarders should wear helmets.
Equipment should fit the child and be tuned every year.
Snowboarders should wear gloves with built-in wrist guards. Eye protection or goggles also should be used.
Slopes should be appropriately matched with the ability and experience of the skier or snowboarder.
Avoid skiing or snowboarding in areas with trees or other obstacles.