July is just around the corner, and temperatures are getting hotter all over the country. Families are preparing for the summer heat by breaking out inflatable pools, slip and slides, water guns, water balloons, and other water toys. Water play is a great way to keep cool during the summer, and helps to get kids out of the house during a time of year when most of us do our best to stay indoors where the air conditioning can keep the oppressive heat at bay.
Getting your backyard ready for water play isn’t as simple as just bringing the pool out of the garage and filling it up, though. Before doing that, it’s important to ensure that the play space is safe for children to freely run around and play in.
Avoid crowding issues
Anytime you bring a new piece of play equipment into the backyard it’s important to make sure that it an actually safely fit. A swing set should have at least 6 feet of space open in every direction to ensure that kids can swing and potentially fall from the structure without hitting any unexpected surfaces. Pools, slip and slides, and random associated debris can all become safety hazards if parents aren’t careful.
To avoid any spacing issues, parents should carefully measure their backyard, and lay out how where particular equipment can be placed. If there isn’t enough space, it may be a good idea to disable some equipment, for example by removing the swing if the pool is placed too close to it.
Eliminate slipping hazards
Many water games are interactive and require a lot of movement. Kids playing with water guns or water balloons will run around rapidly while trying to track the movements of playmates. This makes it very easy to accidentally lose your footing on exposed mud, slick wet concrete, or other slippery surfaces.
To prevent accidents like this, parents need to identify potential slipping hazards and take steps to deal with them. That might involve modifying the surfaces to provide better traction, or preventing kids from playing on potentially hazardous surfaces like smooth wooden decks.
Remove debris and bumps
Slip and slides come with an additional hazard over other water games. When sliding along the slip and slide, small stones or simple bumps can become painful obstacles. Worse, as the ground gets wet, new sharp stones can become exposed, especially at the end of the slide, where water tends to pool and get churned up. Because of this, it’s important to remove any debris, and to ensure that the ground is smooth and provides a nice, comfortable surface to slide over.