Play Safety

It’s not a coincidence that the season for extended daylight and outdoor activity is also the season for broken bones and accidental injuries. Summer vacation means many children are heading outdoors to play on the playground or participate in their favorite sport.

  • Playground Safety

      Playground Safety 
       
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      Stick with Shock Absorbing Surfaces - Ensure there is safe surfacing beneath and surrounding all playground equipment. Recommended surface materials include sand, pea gravel, wood chips, mulch and shredded rubber. Rubber mats, synthetic turf and other artificial materials are also safe surfaces and require less maintenance.

      Avoid Hard Surfaces - Avoid playgrounds with asphalt, concrete, grass, dirt and soil surfaces under the equipment. A fall onto a shock absorbing surface is less likely to cause a serious injury than a fall onto a hard surface.

      Swing Safe - For swings, make sure that the surfacing extends, in the back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar, so if the top of the swing set is 10 feet high, the surfacing should extend 20 feet.

      Use a Professional - Make sure that all playgrounds are inspected and maintained by qualified personnel. Daily, monthly and annual maintenance schedules should be followed.

      Age-Appropriate - Maintain separate play areas for children under age 5. Ensure that children use age-appropriate playground equipment.

      School Safety - Ensure that schools and childcare centers have age-appropriate, well-maintained playground equipment and that trained supervisors are present at all times when children are on the playground. Report any playground safety hazards to the organization responsible for the site (e.g., school, park authority, city council).

      Constant Supervision - Always supervise children using playground equipment. Stay where you can see and hear them.

      No Horseplay - Prevent unsafe behaviors like pushing, shoving, crowding and inappropriate use of equipment.

      Clothing Hazards - Remove hood and neck drawstrings from all children’s outerwear. Never allow children to wear helmets, necklaces, purses, scarves or clothing with drawstrings while on playgrounds.

      Know the Signs of Fracture - The symptoms of a fracture include swelling, redness, pain, deformity and joint stiffness.

      Seek Specialists for Injuries - Pediatric orthopedists and radiologists are specially trained to correctly diagnose and treat injuries in children. If a child has been injured, observe her carefully and use good judgment. Always consult a pediatrician or other healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns regarding her injury; if the injury appears serious or life-threatening, call 911 and seek emergency medical assistance right away.

      Source: Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Safe Kids Georgia.

  • ATV Safety

      Know the Danger - Between 1982 and 2011, 11,688 ATV-related fatalities were reported. Of those, 2,865 fatalities were children younger than 16 years of age. This represents 25 percent of the total number of reported ATV-related fatalities during that time frame. Of the 2,865 ATV-related fatalities of children younger than 16 years of age, 1,226 (43 percent) were younger than 12 years of age.

      No Ride-a-Longs - ATVs should be used by only one person at a time, no riders. Do not hold young children in your lap.

      Always Wear Protective Gear - Helmets are especially important in reducing the risk of head injury. Protective gloves and heavy boots can also help reduce injuries.

      Slow Down - With their large, soft tires and high center of gravity, ATVs can reach speeds of up to 50 mph or more. Almost 60 percent of accidents involving ATVs result from tipping and overturning.

      Keep Kids Away - Children under 12 years of age should not operate any ATV. Younger children do not have adequate physical size and strength to control these vehicles. Nor do they have the thinking, motor, and perceptive skills to operate a vehicle safely. The minimum age for operating an ATV on or off the road should be at least 16 years old.

      Be Licensed and Trained - All ATV operators should be licensed and undergo a hands-on training course. Inexperienced drivers in their first month of using an ATV have 13 times the average risk of injury.

      Daytime Riding - ATVs should be used during daylight hours only. ATVs are difficult to control and collisions with other vehicles can result in severe injuries or death.

      Read the Manuals - Read all instruction manuals and follow the manufacturers' recommendations for use, maintenance, and pre-use checks.

      Stay Off The Road - Never operate an ATV on pavement or on a public road. Almost 10 percent of injuries and over 25 percent of deaths occurred while the ATV was on a paved road.

      Do Not Drive Under Any Influence - Do not operate an ATV if you have taken drugs or alcohol. According to the CPSC, 30 percent of all fatal ATV accidents involved alcohol use.

      Source: Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons

  • Bicycle & Helmet Safety

      Helmet Safety 
       
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      Correctly Sized Helmets - The helmet should fit snug, not moving on the head. The front edge of the helmet should be two finger widths above the eyebrows. The chin strap should be snug when you open your mouth. One finger should fit between the chin and chin strap when the mouth is closed.

      Approved Helmets - The helmet should be approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Approved helmets meet stringent safety standards.

      Correctly Sized Bikes - You should be able to place the balls of your feet on the ground when sitting on the seat. The bicycle should have a bell or horn.

      Road Rules - Stop before riding into traffic from a driveway, sidewalk, parking lot, or other street. Look left, right, and left again to check for cars. Ride on the far right of the road, with traffic. Ride so cars can see you, wearing brightly colored clothes, especially at night. Obey all traffic signals and stop signs. Ride bicycles in single file.

      Daytime and Good Weather Riding - Avoid riding your bicycle, in-line skates, or skateboard during non-daylight hours or during bad weather. If you ride at night, make sure your bicycle has a headlight, flashing taillight, and reflectors.

      Know the signs and symptoms of a concussion, and consult your child's physician immediately if you suspect that your child may have this injury.

  • Skating & Skateboard Safety

      Wear Protective Gear - Always wear elbow and kneepads, gloves, helmets, and wrist guards.

      Take Care of Your Equipment - Buy durable skates with proper ankle support. Check your skates and skateboard regularly for wear and tear. Make sure the wheels are tightened.

      Road Rules - When riding on skates or a skateboard, all traffic rules should be obeyed. Always skate on the right side of sidewalks and other paths. Pass on the left and warn others that you are passing. Avoid skating in the street, especially where there is a lot of traffic. Skateboards should never be used on surface streets.

      Fall Correctly - When losing your balance, crouch down so your fall is short. Try to land on fleshy parts of your body, and try to roll as you fall, which prevents your arms from absorbing all the force. Try to relax, rather than remaining stiff when falling.

      No Horseplay - Do not hitch rides from bicycles, cars, or other vehicles. One rider per skateboard.

      Trick Safety - Carefully practice tricks in designated skateboarding areas.

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