Taking the time to play outside is more important than ever as children get less and less exercise on average than previous generations. However, while going to the local playground with your kids for some outdoor play time may seem entirely harmless, safety standards have not always been what they are today. Before you let your kids run free, check to make sure your local playground doesn’t have any outdated or hazardous play equipment like the following:
Metal Slides and Monkey Bars
Steel is extremely durable, cheap, and easy to build with. Because of this, a lot of older playground equipment that’s still standing today is made of metal. While that isn’t inherently dangerous, do keep an eye out for any equipment that’s designed to have direct contact with your child’s skin. Monkey bars, slides, railings, or climbing holds that are exposed to direct sunlight during the summer can become extremely hot. When a child grabs hold of a hot metal bar, or slides down a burning hot slide, they can suffer serious second degree burns on their hands or legs.
Older seesaws are often built without significant shock absorption under the seat. Children who aren’t playing safely, or are simply of unequal weight, can seriously injure themselves or each other. Beside the risk of being thrown off or dropped unexpectedly, kids who aren’t even using the equipment can get inquisitive fingers caught in the moving parts of the seesaw’s fulcrum if it isn’t safely designed.
Geodesic climbing domes are a classic, but that doesn’t make them safe. They’re naturally awkward to climb, and usually made of steel. This doesn’t just present the same overheating issue as metal slides and monkey bars, it also makes them quite slippery when wet. With the odd way that these domes require a climber’s weight to be distributed, it’s very easy for a foot to slip off a bar. This can result in simple bruises, but also broken noses, wrenched joints, and other similarly painful injuries.
A game that obviously represents a hazard is tetherball, but ironically we tend to look at the wrong issue. It’s not hard to imagine a fast moving ball causing a black eye or a broken nose, but this is actually quite rare, because the ball usually doesn’t have enough momentum to do a lot of damage when children are playing. Instead, the real danger lies in hitting and catching the ball. It’s very easy to break or sprain delicate fingers when striking, especially for younger children who haven’t had the time to develop good hand-eye coordination.
Merry-go-rounds and similar centrifugal equipment like giant strides can put on a lot of speed, especially when many children are using them together. Kids can fall off or get thrown clear with a lot of force, sometimes resulting in bruises, concussions, or broken bones.
While many of these are banned by school boards or cities all over the country, many local public playgrounds still have old, hazardous equipment. Keep an eye out and ensure that the play equipment your children use is safe to use like the swimgs we sell at Swinging Monkey Products.