playground safety

10 tips for playground street smarts


7. Good Fences Make Good Playgrounds: There's no stopping rambunctious kids on a sugar high, so patronize completely fenced-in parks, which will prevent children from running into the parking lot or out of your immediate sight.


Child chat: Fences are not babysitters, so don't overestimate your security. Tell your children to always stay where you can see them. Fences are meant to keep your child in, and may not keep strange people out. Whenever you go out in public is a great occasion to educate your kids on the dangers of talking to strangers.


8. The Wheel Deal: Don't bring a tricycle or bicycle to the park assuming it's a safe place to ride. You need to make sure she can't get hurt by cars or other kids. Some parks have a specific spot for little riders. Don't forget a helmet! And be sure your child never plays on the equipment wearing a helmet, which is a choking hazard.

9. Dress to Impress: What your child wears can affect her safety. Drawstrings, scarves and necklaces can catch on equipment and cause choking. Shop for playtime-specific clothes during back-to-school mall visits.

10. Here Comes the Sun: Even if it's not technically "summer," always bring sunscreen or protective clothing if your child is going to be playing outside for any length of time. Even if the park seems shaded, there probably won't be enough protection.

You Can Make a Difference

If you notice any of the above conditions turning your playground from a haven to a hazard, you can take action to get it fixed. Often, all it takes is a call to an official in your park services department. Get your fellow playground moms on board too. The more calls and letters received, the more likely it is that concerns will be fixed sooner. Can't get anyone to return a phone call? Try a city councilperson, or even the mayor. Don't be afraid to voice your concerns to whoever will listen.

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