Today is the first day of school for many kids in North Central West Virginia. Kids in Monongalia, Harrison, Preston, Lewis and Upshur counties all start school today, while those in Marion and Randolph counties start school on Monday.
In this second installment on school safety tips, we will examine safety on the playground at school.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 200,000 children visit hospital emergency rooms each year due to playground injuries – many of which can be prevented. Use these tips, provided by the National Safety Council, to ensure your children a safe playground experience.
Swings are the pieces of moving equipment on the playground most likely to cause injuries to children. Metal seats or wooden seats on swings should be replaced with soft seats. Swings should be set far away from other playground equipment so that children do not get hit by a mobbing swing. For younger children, full-bucket seats are recommended. Half-bucket seats are dangerous for babies as they can easily slide out of them.
Falling off of climbing equipment or horizontal ladders injure more children on playgrounds than anything else. Children under four years of age should be prohibited from using this type of equipment. When older children are using this equipment, watch them while they are climbing, make sure that handrails and steps are in good, working condition, and make sure that barriers surround higher and raised platforms. Any climbing ropes should be secured at the top and bottom of the equipment.
Falls cause more than 80 percent of playground injuries. Looking for improper surfacing is the first thing parents should watch for when examining a play area. Avoid playgrounds with concrete, dirt surfaces, and grass as these surfaces are too hard. Playground areas with woodchips, mulch, sand, and/or rubber maps are preferred as these surfaces cushion the ground better than concrete, dirt, or grass.
Safe merry-go-rounds and seesaws
Seesaws that are spring-loaded are best for young children. Adjustable seesaws with chains should be avoided as children can crush their hands under the chains. A “traditional” seesaw should have a tire or other object under the seat to prevent the seat from hitting the hard ground.
Merry-go-rounds are best for school-age children. Merry-go-rounds should have a level rotating platform and handgrips, with adequate clearance to prevent crushed or severed limbs.
As children go back to school, the attorneys and staff at the Manchin Injury Law Group wish everyone a safe and productive school year!