Summer is the best season to enjoy an outdoor playground. No jackets needed, the sun shining down, and the tinkle of an ice cream van in the distance – it’s the perfect recipe for a great day. However, there are some hazards that arise in the summer that you should be aware of, so you can enjoy your playground as usual. PlaySmart have put together our top tips for what to look out for in the playground this summer
Skin on Hot Metal
If your local outdoor playground has any metal equipment (swings, slides, poles), due diligence should be taken when playing on a hot day. Metal absorbs heat very well, and can get very hot to the touch. When this is the case, children should avoid playing on this playground equipment.
Exposed skin coming into contact with hot metal objects has a high likelihood of causing burns. An adult should always supervise play time to ensure surface temperatures are appropriate for children.
As we all know, children love to burn themselves out when they play – it really is work hard, play hard! However, in hot weather, it is much easier to overheat or dehydrate, especially when children are overexerting themselves and their bodies. Adults should always be present to ensure children are taking rest intervals in the shade and drinking enough fluids to prevent the risks of heatstroke or dehydration.
Watch for Overcrowding
On a summer’s day, outdoor playgrounds are a lot more likely to have larger crowds playing on them. This is fine, and everyone should be able to enjoy the playground! However, this can present safety hazards when overcrowding occurs in areas that need more free space – for example, the bottom of a slide.
This can cause problems with play, where those gathering could be injured by others already using the equipment. It’s Important for children to understand that certain areas need to be kept clear in order to ensure other’s safety.
As always, adult supervision is a key part of playground safety, as it can help prevent injuries before they have the chance to occur. The temptation to play on equipment unsuitable for their age can be strong for younger children, and this can result in injury.
For example, falling from a height could be much more serious for a smaller child than an older one. There should always be at least one adult on hand to supervise play and ensure that children are using the equipment appropriate to their age group.
Check for Tripping Hazards
You are probably already regularly maintaining your outdoor playground, but it’s important to ensure you’re constantly checking for any trip hazards that may have sprung up. Check for any edges that may be peeling away, cracks, dents in the surfacing, and so on. Remember to keep an eye out for natural hazards too – any branches, rocks, tree stumps, etc. can all present a tripping hazard. Remove any hazards to ensure children have a fun and safe playing experience.
Another hazard adults should be prepared to spot is potentially risky items of clothing or accessories. Certain items can present more of a risk on the playground than others, and adults should be on hand to spot and deal with this. Some of the things to look out for include:
- Loose drawstrings on hoodies. These drawstrings are at risk of becoming entangled in playground equipment and could potentially get caught and choke the child wearing it. It is safest for children not to wear clothing with drawstrings when playing on a playground.
- Appropriate footwear. Shoes should be closed-toed with proper support, to prevent being stepped on, stubbed, blistered or cut.
- Any jewellery should be kept to a minimum to prevent catching or snagging on equipment.
PlaySmart will always recommend the supervision of responsible adults. We hope this article has been informative, and that with the information from this article, everyone can have a fun and safe outdoor playground experience this summer!