Summer is here and everyone is heading to the playground to wear the kids out and fight the “I’m bored” complaints. We love to go to the playground and let the kids run around and spend time with friends without having everyone running in and out of the houses for one of us parents to clean up. We have enough of that all day so a small break from chores is welcome by all of us moms. The thing is we live in an area hit hard by human trafficking of children so playground safety is even more important than ever. These playground safety tips will help protect your children on the playground.
Tips for safe trips to the playground
Put the phone away
Our phones are a major distraction that leave our eyes off our children. So often I see parents glued to their screen not even noticing their child has fallen or the creepy person watching the kids without one of their own. Unless you have a partner that is watching the children while you relax for a few put the phone away. If you think you will be tempted, bring a separate camera so you can take pictures of your child without distraction.
Choose a safe park
Look for parks with limited entrance and exit points. This will make watching children that like to run much easier and give you an advantage on keeping toddlers out of the nearby streets while making it harder for anyone to leave with a child that shouldn’t.
Helicopter toddlers and impulsive preschoolers
While accidents can still happen even with you nearby you can prevent some and deal with them faster if you are close. One time my son slipped between my legs and jumped 5 feet off the equipment in an effort to fly. Most of these incidents can be prevented by staying close and if they happen while you are close without distraction don’t feel bad. Life happens.
Bring a first aid kit
Having a chemical ice pack and some basic bandaging supplies can help keep the fun going if someone gets hurt. Kids scrape knees and bump their heads all day long. Having what you need to make a child that is not majorly hurt on hand is a great way to head off having to leave the park over a cranky child. Something about a bandaid makes everything better for kids.
If you can bring other adults to the park with you
Playdates at the park are great. Not only can you sit and chat with the other parents you can have extra eyes on all of the children while you sit and relax. My kids refer to this as having multiple moms for the day because well we all correct each other’s children as we see need. This can take a load off of you because we only have so many eyes and it helps a lot to have a spare set.
Protect legs on slides
Hot slides can be a major issue int he summer. If your child is wearing shorts take an old swim towel with you to the park for kids to sit on and slide down if the slide is too hot for them. This is a great way to avoid a break down from a young child that doesn’t quite understand and keeps anyone from missing out on the fun.
When you arrive at the playground do a quick scan
Many playgrounds these days are filled with hazards from needles to weapons left behind overnight. Even parks in good neighborhoods are at risk. Give the playground a good scan when you arrive to be sure there is nothing in tubes, on slides, and hidden areas under the equipment. Teach your children to come to you if they see anything out of the ordinary. While we have been blessed to not see any issues ourselves we have had friends that were not so lucky surprisingly in better neighborhoods than ours.
Teach your child basic playground safety behaviors
- No pushing and shoving
- Do not walk directly in front of or behind swings
- Do not climb up slides (Ok I let my kids do this but only if no other children are on the slides.)