Outdoor Playgrounds – Keeping Young Children Safe
The long summer days and warm evenings are great for getting our little ones active and letting them burn off some steam. Physical exercise keeps our children fit and healthy, playground equipment will help to develop their coordination and gross motor skills, and mixing with other children at a public playground is also beneficial for social and emotional development.
There are many wonderful benefits to encouraging young children to play in outdoor playgrounds, not forgetting it’s also usually free!
As cautious parents, it’s natural for us to worry about the safety elements that we might need to consider when taking a young child to the playground. So here we will cover some of the most common concerns and ways to keep little ones safe while they have fun.
Tips & Tricks for Playground Safety
- Playgrounds often have various equipment aimed at different ages and abilities, so choose those that are age appropriate. Older children are more confident and agile and could accidentally knock or topple a toddler.
- Supervise and stay near very young children as they climb or swing, play along with them if you can.
- Be sun smart Always ensure that your child is playing in the shade when possible and wearing adequate sunscreen and protective clothing.
- Stay hydrated Children have enviable amounts of energy and are often having so much fun they will forget to stop for a drink.
- The injuries that occur most in the playground are minor cuts, grazes or bruises. Breaks and dislocations are more serious and often occur from the misuse of the equipment (such a jumping from swings) or falls from high equipment.
- Toddlers and pre-schoolers are still developing their strength, coordination and the ability to know what they are capable of, so monkey bars and similar equipment will usually need the assistance of a parent or guardian. (Try holding the weight of the child while they practise grabbing the bars.)
- Ensure that all public playground installations meet or exceed the following Australian safety standards: AS 4685 -2014 Playground equipment and surfacing.
- Choose outdoor playgrounds with secure fencing if you can. These playgrounds help to keep children in the safety of the play area and away from roads while keeping dogs, bikes, scooters and other dangers on the outside.
- Teach your child about stranger danger and don’t allow young children to wander off.
- Treat cuts and grazes quickly, ensuring the wound is clean. Using antiseptic cream or wipes from a first-aid kit is usually sufficient for very minor ‘ouchies’. Always seek medical attention if there is excessive pain, bleeding, swelling, or a bump to the head.
Our Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning & Childcare centres in NSW encourage a range of physical activities and outdoor play. The fun activity-based curriculum is very hands-on and the state-of-the-art play areas all offer water play features, shade sails and sandpits. The majority also boast in-ground trampolines and fixed climbing equipment. Our qualified educators supervise the children at all times and the carefully placed shading allows the play areas to be used in any kind of weather, so children can enjoy the importance of playtime daily.