Mason Construction, Ltd. was a big supporter for the building of the barrier-free playground in downtown Beaumont. That playground offers a fun, accessible area for children of all abilities to be able to play together. It is also the only barrier-free playground in our area. If you have children please visit this wonderful gem provided by the Rotary Club of Beaumont.
As children are going back to school, activity on playgrounds will be back up. Today, there are many more safety features to playgrounds compared to years ago. Even though they are safer, there are still a lot of emergency room visits for playground-related injuries to children fourteen years old and younger.
The National Safety Council says 80% of playground injuries are because of falls. And the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has the following list of playground hazards to be aware of:
- Improper protective surfaces: Fall surfaces should be made of wood chips, mulch, wood fibers, sand, pea gravel, shredded tires or rubber mats and should be at least 12 inches deep.
- Inadequate use zone: The area under and around play equipment where a child might fall should be a minimum of 6 feet in all directions.
- Protrusion hazards: Beware of hardware that is capable of impaling or cutting a child (bolts, hooks, rungs, etc.), or catching strings or items of clothing. Children should never wear drawstring hoodies at the playground.
- Head entrapment hazards: There should be no openings that measure between 3 ½ and 9 inches.
- Overcrowded play area: Swings should be set far enough away from other equipment that children won't be hit by a moving swing.
- Trip hazards, like rocks or tree stumps
- Lack of supervision: Children under age 4 shouldn't play on climbing equipment or horizontal ladders.
- Age inappropriate activities: Spring-loaded seesaws are best for young children. Avoid adjustable seesaws with chains because children can crush their hands under the chains. A traditional seesaw should not hit the ground. "Whirls" or "roundabouts" are best for school-age children.
- Lack of maintenance: Metal or wooden swing seats should be replaced with soft seats, and equipment should not be split or splintered.
- Sharp edges on equipment
- Platforms with no guardrails
- Equipment not recommended for public playgrounds: One example is monkey bars. The number of injuries caused by monkey bars is so significant many experts recommend they be removed from all playgrounds.
If you see a problem or hazard in one of our local, city operated playgrounds, please report it to the city so it can be addressed. Parental supervision is still a necessity no matter how safe a playground appears to be. Be safe and have fun with your children for what remains of the summer and as we head back into the school year.
One Team. One Vision. One Goal. – Everyone Goes Home Safe!
(Picture from the Rotary Club of Beaumont Facebook page.)