Heather Olsen: Hi! My name is Heather Olsen, and Im part of the team at the National Program for Playground Safety. Today Im going to discuss how to have a safe outdoor play area, as it is; we need to be proactive to make sure outdoor environments are safe, safe stands for Supervision Age-Appropriate Design Fall Surfacing, and Equipment Maintenance. SAFE.
So first, always make sure when children are at the playground an adult is present. It is necessary to do a quick sweep of the area to remove any hazards, and make sure to stand your toes as children move quickly.
The second step is Age-Appropriate Design; equipment should be separated for children ages six months to 23 months, ages 2 to 5 years, and 5 to 12 years. Keeping the little children off of the older childrens equipment, will prevent injuries. To check for Age-Appropriateness, look for smaller equipment, equipment that does not have any truck ride or climbing equipment that is advanced.
The third step is Fall Surfacing, children will climb and when they fall you want to make sure the ground below will cushion their fall. Asphalt, dirt, concrete and grass are not acceptable, because if a child falls, they will not land on a soft surface, which could increase the risk of injury, loose-fill materials maintained at 12 inches, such as engineered wood fiber, rubber mulch, and sand are appropriate.
The first step to playground safety is equipment maintenance, before your children begin playing on the playground; look for the hazards, such as broken equipment, sharp points, missing pieces or loose bulbs. This is important because broken equipment can lead to injury to a child. NPPS has created the SAFE model to guide adults to protect children from unintentional injuries. Unfortunately each year our 200,000 children are injured on playgrounds. I hope youve taken to consideration all of these safety checks, so we can prevent playground injuries.