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Playground Safety Largely Depends on Kid-Friendly Surfaces, Well-Maintained Equipment and Adult Supervision

March 20, 2000

Here are some tips for playing it safe at the local playground:

* Avoid asphalt, concrete, grass and soil surfaces under playground equipment.

* Acceptable loose-fill materials include hardwood-fiber mulch or chips, pea gravel, fine sand and shredded rubber. Surfacing should be maintained at a depth of 12 inches and should extend a minimum of 6 feet in all directions around stationary equipment. Rubber mats, synthetic turf and other artificial materials also are safe surfaces and require less maintenance.

* Ensure that a comprehensive inspection of all playgrounds is conducted by qualified personnel.

* Abide by daily, monthly and annual playground maintenance schedules.

* Report any playground safety hazards to the organization responsible for the site (e.g., school, park authority, city council).

* Always supervise children when using playground equipment. Maintain visual and auditory contact.

* Prevent unsafe behaviors such as pushing, shoving, crowding and inappropriate use of equipment.

* Ensure that children use age-appropriate playground equipment.

* Remove hood and neck drawstrings from all children's outerwear. Never allow children to wear necklaces, purses, scarves or clothing with drawstrings while on playgrounds.


Here are some Web sites devoted to children's safety: /coloring.html (a police coloring book)

/kids/ (boat safety) (bike comic book) /index2.html (helmet safety)

/opacom/kids/default.htm (food safety) /cgi-bin/rbox/fr.cgi (Smokey the Bear)

/kids/ (FEMA fire page for kids)

/pd/kids.html (McGruff the crime dog) /kiddesafety/Default.htm (Captain Kidde home safety) /bb.html (product safety quiz for kids) /crimepre/internet/internet.htm (kids on Internet)

/kids/ (Safety City)

/disaster/safety/earth.html (Red Cross for kids) (kids and food)


Sources: Times reports; National Safe Kids Campaign

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