To ensure that children remain safe while playing outdoors, Dr. Alfonzo shares his playground safety recommendations for parents and caregivers, as well as what to bring with them when heading out to play.
1. Always supervise
There should always be a pair of eyes on a young child as they play outdoors. Keep track of where they are and make sure they play on age-appropriate equipment.
2. Be up to date on vaccinations
Playgrounds can be filled with germs. A child may touch a slide and then touch their mouth or get a cut or become injured while playing outdoors. One of the best ways to prevent kids from becoming sick is to make sure they are up-to-date on their vaccines, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic and flu season.
3. Wear non-slip shoes
As children navigate their way around a playground, it is important for them to wear shoes that can protect them from slipping. Water on playground equipment, for example, such as on slides or on stairs, creates a risky environment for them to slip and fall.
4. Be prepared for the weather
During the winter months, children generally need one extra layer of clothing more than their adult counterparts. But rain and snow can affect the playground equipment, increasing the risk for injuries. It is best to come to the playground on a nice, clear day, not one with bad weather.
In the summer, stay hydrated and apply sunscreen on children with a sun protective factor (SPF) of 15 to 30 or higher. Summertime also brings out bugs. Good preparation would also include insect repellent with 10 to 30 percent DEET to apply as instructed by the bottle. Sunscreen, which should be reapplied every two hours, is safe for kids six months or older, and most bug repellants are safe for children two months or older.
5. What to bring
For a safe outing at the playground, parents and caregivers should come prepared. Don’t forget:
- Helmet (if riding a bike or scooter)
- Bug spray (in the summer)
- Band-aids and bacitracin
- Water bottle
- Hand sanitizer