Providing a safe environment for children to play and develop in is of great importance to reduce the risk of severe and often life-altering injuries. Young children are developing their basic skills of balance and coordination. Children also are not able to understand dangers and risks. Adult supervision is a key component of ensuring a child’s safety.
Over a six year period in Saskatchewan, falls from playground equipment was the leading cause of injury hospitalization for children aged 5 to 9. Fractures, scrapes, cuts and bruises, head injuries, strains and sprains, burns and pinches are the most common injuries due to playground equipment. The most serious injuries on playgrounds are due to falls, entrapment, entanglement and collisions. The equipment most commonly associated with injuries includes monkey bars, slides, swings, play structures and see-saws.
Children’s behavior on playground equipment should not necessarily be regulated or changed. Play is a child’s opportunity to express themselves and lead creative discovery to learn about themselves and their world. In order to protect children, safe environments should instead be developed. Safe environments include design of the playground, maintenance of the playground, age appropriate use of equipment, protective surfacing, and active adult supervision.