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How can I ensure playground equipment is safe?

Designers of California playgrounds have a responsibility to create a safe environment for children. However, as a parent you are no doubt concerned about your child’s overall well-being when using playground equipment. In some cases improper design can cause your child to become seriously injured, which is why you must remain vigilant to what ultimately makes a playground safe for use.

KidsHealth.org provides some important information on playground safety, particularly as it relates to design. Knowing what to look for is essential in this case, such as equipment with moving parts that could pose a crushing hazard. You should carefully inspect things like seesaws to identify any potential pinch-points, which could result in bruises, broken skin or even fractures. Equipment that contains any moving parts should also be situated in its own section of the park.

There are other issues to be on the lookout for, especially when it comes to equipment that’s at a higher elevation. Platforms must be outfitted with protective guardrails to keep kids from falling to the ground below. Climbing netting should also be inspected thoroughly to make sure that openings are the proper size. Netting that’s too small can cause a child to become entrapped, with perimeters measuring between 17 to 18 inches posing the greatest risk.

Playgrounds should also be designed with different age groups in mind. This tends to be a matter of size, as equipment intended for older, bigger children will not be suitable for younger kids. Additionally, age-appropriate playground equipment should be separated to ensure that older kids don’t inadvertently injure younger children while at play.

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