For obvious reasons, it’s in the best interests of both parents and schools to provide the safest environment possible for kids to learn, play, and grow. The playground, in particular, is one of the most common sites of injuries since that’s when kids have the most freedom to run around and do as they please. To minimize injuries, here are ways schools can improve playground safety.
Upgrade the Surfacing
There will be no greater source of injuries on the playground than from kids falling. An absolute necessity for any safe playground is proper surfacing material—something that is able to withstand and absorb the shock of impact in order to minimize injuries. Loose-fill surfacing options include woodchips, gravel, or sand, while more solid options include pour-in-place rubber, which provides a more permanent option.
Regularly Inspect Equipment
Schools should make a habit of routinely inspecting and providing maintenance to their playground as necessary. It is especially important that schools inspect playgrounds after severe weather, such as storms or intense heat. This kind of practice and routine will help schools keep an eye out for any damages or wear and tear the playground equipment sustains as a result of the environment. If there are any issues, such as rust, debris, or damage, schools can address them before kids have a chance to find them and potentially harm themselves on sharp edges or worn-out equipment.
Provide Inclusive Equipment
One of the best ways schools can improve playground safety is by ensuring it is accessible to all kids, no matter their abilities. Kids want to be included and join their friends in the fun, so they’ll be willing to take dangerous risks if it means getting to do what everyone else does. To prevent these unnecessary risks, include ground-level equipment or opt for ramps instead of stairs in order to give kids with physical disabilities better options for play. Returning to the topic of surfacing, solid rubber surfacing is often the best choice for an inclusive playground, as it allows kids who use wheelchairs or crutches to navigate the playground easily.