Safety Improvements Abound on Playgrounds

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With school out for the summer, many children are taking to local playgrounds to pass the time.  Parents might worry that unexpected safety hazards might crop up on such environments, but as a new report from NPR discloses, such playgrounds may actually be safer than they’ve ever been.

Armed with research and knowledge about what’s safest for kids, older equipment is being replaced by newer equipment that meets certain standards.  In many cases, climbing is out, while age-specific installations are in.  Fewer monkey bars and objects that could pose a strangulation threat are being installed.  And most open air slides are being replaced by units that have a tunnel, basically encapsulating a child so that he or she can’t fall or jump off prematurely.

The director of Parks and Recreation in Washington D.C. explains that much attention is being paid nowadays to balancing safety with fun.  Thus, swings are acceptable on playgrounds, but they’re now given ample space from other equipment so that a child on a swing doesn’t strike another child running by and that they don’t strike another object if they fall.  Cushioned surfaces are being used so that impact damage is also lessened.

Still, there are some who believe that falling and receiving minor injuries are part of the learning process.  A Temple University psychology professor, for instance, points out that children maybe should be allowed to climb or get into some reasonable amount of trouble.  The key is to have a parent on hand to ensure that modest mischief doesn’t turn dangerous.