Managing the Risks of Playgrounds

The playground may be the kids’ favorite part of school, but it’s often the least favorite part for school nurses that have to tend to injuries. Playgrounds can be the area of highest risk when it comes to school properties.

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The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) conducted an injury study for children from over a seven-year period and found that 51% of preschool and elementary-aged children received emergency care after suffering injuries on school playground equipment. Even more disconcerting is the fact that of the incidents reported, 67% of the injuries occurred due to fall or equipment failure. The study also identifies some of the top pieces of equipment that were associated with injury, which include climbers, swings and slides.

To ensure your playground and its equipment are safe to use, regularly inspections are a must. Consider using guides like the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s public playground checklist and the NPPS playground safety report card to help identify safety hazards to be addressed. Some of the items on the list include:

– Checking for protruding sharp ends or bolts
– Checking elevated areas of equipment to make sure there are guardrails in place
– Having surfaces around equipment filled with 12 inches of mulch, sand or wood chips to help absorb the impact of a fall
– Making sure equipment is free of rust, cracks and is not missing any parts
– Designating separate play areas for children ages 2-5 and for children ages 5-12

It’s also imperative to have staff watching the children during recess. Adults should be able see children at all times so there will be no blind spots. This will allow adults to be able to see what happens in the event of accident and be able to respond quickly.

It’s also necessary to have the right insurance policies in place to protect your organization if a playground accident does happen. This is where Lamb Financial Group can help. We will work with you to ensure you have the social services insurance you need if the unexpected occurs.

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