|Parents And Guardians - Are You Aware Articles
Victoria Ianni

November 12, 2009

In Activity Counts, we discussed the importance of activities for children. It is suggested that children have approximately one hour of physical activity a day. As parents, we know that this activity may come in many forms.  One almost guaranteed form of activity will come from play time outside while your child is in child care (weather permitting, of course). As we know, outside activities can be limitless. In addition to outdoor games such as hide and seek, tag or kickball, your child may spend outdoor play time on the playground.

NACCRRA’s Is This the Right Place for my Child? states that the playground or outside play area is the most common place for a child to be injured.  As such, you want to carefully observe the outside environment of your potential child care program just as carefully as you’d observe the inside. 

Below you will find some important items of consideration when it comes to playground safety. Take note of these items while visiting potential child care centers or family child care homes.

  • Ask caregivers whether or not the play area is checked daily for hazards. This may typically be done in the morning, but should be done prior to children playing.  You want to make sure there is no broken glass or other materials that could cause injury to a child.
  • Look at the equipment available for your child. Does it seem age appropriate (i.e., toys that are the right size for your child). Check ride-on toys your child might play with to ensure they’re appropriate. You want your toddler to have a small bike or tricycle to play with versus a youth sized bicycle.
  • Is the play area surrounded by a fence or other barrier? You will want to make sure there is some sort of barrier between your child and any potential hazards beyond that barrier. One example might be a fence around a playground to protect children from a nearby busy road.
  • Look at the condition of the play equipment.  Check to make sure that there are no broken pieces or missing parts on toys or play equipment.
  • Check to see what sort of material has been placed under the play equipment. Play equipment should have soft materials 9-12 inches deep below it. Sand, mulch or rubber mats offer a softer cushion for landing in the event of a fall.

The National Program for Playground Safety, an organization committed to helping the public create safe and developmentally appropriate playgrounds, has implemented a national action plan entitled S.A.F.E.  This action plan was created with the hope of preventing playground injuries. The S.A.F.E. program offers four general goals to playground safety: Supervision, Age-appropriate, Fall Surface and Equipment Maintenance. The program works with the public in the following areas: child care, elementary schools, residential and youth organizations. For more information on the NPPS’s national action plan, please visit www.playgroundsafety.org.

For more information about NACCRRA’s Is This the Right Place for my Child?, go to http://issuu.com/naccrra/docs/is-this-the-right-place-for-my-child?mode=a_p

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