When parents leave their little ones in the hands of schools, daycare centers, and other professional childcare facilities, they’re placing a tremendous amount of trust in them. That being the case, it behooves these facilities to repay this trust by keeping the children in their care as safe as possible. Safety is of particular concern during designated periods of outside play. Energetic youngsters can incur a plethora of injuries when faced with unsafe playground equipment and improper supervision. Schools and daycare centers looking for effective ways to promote playground safety would do well to heed the following tips.
Invest in Safe Equipment
A shocking number of schools and daycare centers have playgrounds that are rife with old, outdated equipment. Swing sets, jungle gyms and slides that are decades old and thoroughly worn-out can cause a host of injuries to any children playing on them. This stands to make your school the target of some pretty expensive lawsuits. In some cases, equipment isn’t updated due to budgetary constraints, but in many instances, schools simply don’t think to replace their playground equipment on a semi-regular basis. When working to update your playground, look for a manufacturer who specializes in a wide range of equipment and has a favorable safety rating. If this company also offers assistance with playground installation, land planning, and budgeting, you’ll know you’ve found a winner.
Always Have Multiple Playground Monitors on Duty
Unsafe equipment isn’t the only thing that’s conducive to playground injuries. It’s no stretch of the imagination to say that young children have a propensity for getting themselves hurt – particularly when they aren’t being properly supervised. With this in mind, make a point of having multiple monitors on duty during every period of outside play. This is particularly important for schools with large playgrounds – and even larger student bodies. In order to stamp out injuries, stop fights before they begin and nip any other problems in the bud, every area of the playground needs to be meticulously monitored. If this means inconveniencing a few teachers, so be it.
Introduce Kid-Friendly Surfaces
Even in this day and age, the majority of playgrounds feature surfaces that are far from child-friendly. Most elementary school and daycare center playgrounds have abrasive gravel surfaces – which are highly conducive to serious injuries. Even a light fall onto this type of surface is liable to produce serious cuts and scrapes. In the interest of minimizing such injuries on your playground, kick gravel to the curb and embrace a child-friendlier surface. Synthetic turf, rubber, mulch and wood chips are all popular alternatives to gravel and concrete. A fall onto one of these surfaces is far less likely to result in serious injury.
A staggering number of childcare facilities are plagued by unsafe playgrounds. Recess is meant to provide kids with a healthy outlet for their pent-up energy – not subject them to a litany of dangers. Fortunately, playground safety is well within the grasp of any school or daycare center. Updating your equipment, having multiple monitors on duty at all times and ditching gravel in favor of a kid-friendly surface can go a long way in keeping your playground safe for children.