Considering safety when planning and constructing new backyard playground equipment is crucial, but just as important is considering safety while the kids are engaged in active play on that well-designed and well-constructed equipment. Kids just want to have fun, but sometimes that fun can have some hidden dangers about which parents and caregivers should be aware.
Did you know that bike helmets, when worn on playground equipment, can pose a serious danger to kids? Bike helmets cannot pass through some spaces and children can easily become trapped. Additionally, strangulation by the helmet’s chinstrap is a potential danger.
Did you know that ropes, jump ropes, clothes lines, or pet leashes should never be attached to playground equipment because they can be a strangulation hazard? Even the drawstring found in hooded sweatshirts can cause strangulation if a child on a swing set becomes entangled by it.
While a responsible parent or other adult should always be around to supervise kids who play on the backyard swing set, it’s also important to empower kids by sharing this information with them. Parents should help kids understand that seemingly harmless items like bike helmets, jump ropes, pet leashes, etc. should never make their way onto any swing set or other playground equipment. No gory details necessary…just let them know it’s not safe, so it’s not ok.
In my next and last post on backyard playground safety, I’ll tackle another often neglected area of swing set safety — equipment upkeep and maintenance over time.