Encouraging your children to get off their iPads and play in the playground is a great idea. Playing outdoors helps your child’s development in a big way, building up their motor skills and cognitive functions. But a poorly built or maintained playground that does’t follow playground safety regulations can be a safety risk for your kids.
In public playgrounds, there’s even a risk of foul play. In the UK, police were called when two razor blades were found taped to the handles of a slide of a local public playground.
Razor blades found taped on slide in playground
The scary incident happened in a small town in Lancashire, UK. Suspects are yet to be found, but whoever did this intentionally wants to hurt children.
The razors were taped hidden on each handle of the slide.
Policemen are warning parents to be more careful and check thoroughly all public playground equipment before allowing their children to play.
The police are committed to fully investigating the case.
The playground safety checklist
Your neighbourhood HDB public park should be safe, but it doesn’t hurt to check first | Source: File photo
It’s best to make sure the playground is safe for your children to play in. Singapore’s public playgrounds are built and maintained following playground safety regulations by Enterprise Singapore. But it’s always good to play it safe. Before letting your kids roam free, here are ways you can check the safety of your neighbourhood playground:
- Inspect all the playground equipment to make sure they are in tiptop condition. Check for protruding edges and sharp points. Finding sharp objects like the case above is an extremely rare occurrence here, but the possibility is always there.
- Check the play surface used for the playground. Usually it’s soft enough to withstand minor impact, made out of mulch, wood chops, sand. Most playgrounds in Singapore use rubber mats for flooring.
- Watch the ground area for places where your kids can trip and fall. This includes growing tree stumps, rocks and exposed flooring.
- All elevated areas in the playground, like the top of slides, platforms and ramps, should have guardrails installed so children don’t fall over or attempt to jump off.
Remember: If you see something dangerous, don’t allow your child to play in the playground, and report the problem to your town council/ building management.
What your kids wear is important
Make sure your kids are wearing well-fitted clothes when they play in the playground | Source: Unsplash
The clothes and accessories your children wear to the playground could also be hazard. Do make sure your children aren’t wearing any of the following:
- Drawstrings. Think hoodies or pants with drawstrings attached. It might get caught around playground equipment, get stuck or worse, risk strangling your child.
- Long scarves and necklaces. For the same reason as above. Get shorter scarves if your child is feeling cold – the scarf should not be trailing as your child run. Remove necklaces, bangles and any accessories that hang if possible.
- Bike helmets. If your little one isn’t cycling, there’s no need to keep the helmet on. The helmet strap could get caught onto playground equipment. The already bulky helmet could trap your child’s head into an opening, risking suffocation.
In any case, it’s sometimes inevitable for your children to suffer an injury. It’s not a bad thing of course, as it teaches them how to cope with the injury, and what to do in case it happens again. It’s a great learning process for your kids.
But you or your spouse should supervise your children at the playground at all times, so that you’re there when a serious issue happens.
[Source: Independent, Family Education]