5 Playground Lessons Every Parent Should Know
- Playgrounds Come in 3 Sizes. Playground equipment must be age appropriate to be safe. National playground
standards group kids into three developmental stages: 6-to-23 months (Tykes), ages 2-to-5 years (Little Folks), and 5-to-12 years (Kids). Choose the playground equipment that’s age-appropriate for your child.
- Inspect Your Playground. Playgrounds are supposed to be inspected by the Park or School which owns them. Often, however, inspections are few and far between. Dangerous conditions, such as broken glass, can appear between inspections. Parents should inspect to seek that the surface beneath the equipment is properly protected, and there are no sharp edges or loose parts. Report any defects to the responsible organization, including schools, the DC Parks Department, or DC Council. Don’t let you kid use a playground which doesn’t pass your inspections.
- Rake & Maintain Wood Chips. Where wood chips are used for impact protection, they can be pushed or moved through normal use or weather. Take a rake (or even use your hands) to see that the wood chips are evenly spread and that the areas at the base of the equipment is protected. Never use playground equipment that doesn’t have impact attenuating surfaces. Woodchips need to be at least 12 inches deep and extend 6 to 20 feet in all directions.
- Remove Snag Items. Loose necklaces, purses, scarves, draw strings and bike helmets should not be worn on playground equipment. These can be choking hazards.
- Supervise Kids. While kids enjoy the free-play found at playgrounds, parents need to still supervise. Pushing, shoving or hitting should be discouraged. Parents and caregivers need to use their own best judgment as to when play becomes
dangerous. Good parenting requires setting rules for safe play, and following through if these rules are ignored. Stay safe and enjoy.
Paul Zukerberg is a Washington DC injury attorney and founding member of Zukerberg & Halperin, PLLC, a
personal injury law firm.