Playground, Amusement Park and Carnival Safety

Amusement Park and Carnival Safety

Amusement ParkAn article by Globe Life on summer safety reminds us that amusement parks and carnivals can be great fun or they can result in a trip to the emergency room. What makes the difference? For one, parents may incorrectly assume that a ride is appropriate for their child. Secondly, children may not pay attention to or observe the safety regulations for a specific ride.

The National Safe Kids Campaign advises parents to remember that height guidelines are not always reliable.

Parents need to be sure of their child’s ability to obey ride instructions for their own safety. Alan Korn, Director of Public Policy, and General Counsel for Safe Kids USA advises parents to reinforce the authority of the ride operator. “If the ride operator tells children to keep their hands and feet inside the car or to hold the handrail, explain to your children that there is a good reason for the rule.”

Officials estimate that thousands of children, each year between the ages 14 and under are injured because they used poor judgment or behaved improperly on the rides.

Playground Safety

Safe Kids USA encourages parents and caregivers to make sure playground equipment is appropriate for a child’s age. Each year, more than 200,000 preschool and elementary school age children are injured from falling while using playground equipment.

When their imaginations run wild, children sometimes believe they have superpowers that enable them to do remarkable physical feats on the playground equipment at the cost of their own personal safety. This puts children at risk of becoming seriously injured.

Most playground injuries are related to the climbing equipment, such as monkey bars.

In fact, the amount of injuries that result from children playing on monkey bars is significant enough that many experts want them removed from playgrounds. Since falls cannot always be prevented, parents can make sure that the playground surface is loosely filled with wood chips, mulch, sand, gravel, shredded rubber, or rubber like surfacing materials.

During the summer months, playground equipment, such as slides and monkey bars, can get hotter than 140 degrees, causing burns on children’s hands, legs and other uncovered body parts. It may be wiser to avoid the playground entirely during heat waves.

Source: Globe Life, Safe Kids USA

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National Playground Safety Week

Growing up in NYC in the 50’s, playgrounds were the place to be. Unfortunately, those were the days when concrete lined the surfaces in the playgrounds and monkey bars and slides were all made of materials that were slippery in the damp weather and burning hot in the warm months. I’m sure there would have been a lot less trips to emergency rooms, less stitches, bruises and broken bones if the playground safety standards described below were in place then.

National Playground Safety Week 2011 is April 25-29, 2011.

logo for playground safetyThe National Program for Playground Safety suggests that you take this week to review the safety features and standards of the playgrounds your child(ren) use.

Here is a quick playground safety check list the National Program for Playground Safety recommends to keep your children safe:

  • Make sure that there is adult supervision in a playground.  Adult presence is needed to watch for potential hazards, observe, intercede and facilitate play when necessary.
  • There should be no strings on clothing or ropes used for play that can cause accidental strangulation if caught on equipment.
  • Children need to play on age-appropriate equipment. Preschoolers, ages 2 – 5, and children ages 5 – 12, are developmentally different and need different equipment located in separate areas to insure  playground safety and fun for all.
  • Cushioning is critical for playground surfaces . Nearly 70 percent of all playground injuries are related to falls to the surface. Acceptable surfaces include hardwood fiber/mulch, pea gravel, sand and synthetic materials such as poured-in-place, rubber mats or tiles. Playground safety is dependent on surfaces not be concrete, asphalt, grass, blacktop, packed dirt or rocks.
  • Equipment needs to be checked regularly to make sure it is safe for use. Always check to make sure the equipment is anchored safely in the ground, all equipment pieces are in good working order, S-hooks are entirely closed, bolts are not protruding and there are no exposed footings, etc.

Playground Safety checklists are available from the CPSC or go to www.uni.edu/playground

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