How to Introduce Toddlers to Playground Safety: 9 Steps
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Teach your toddler how to stay safe while having fun.


Toddlers love to run, jump and have fun, and the playground at your local park is a great place for your tot to get some exercise and use his imagination. Playgrounds usually include swings, a slide, a seesaw and bars for climbing. While toddlers see the equipment as an exciting challenge to conquer, to you it may look like a boo-boo waiting to happen. Accidents at the playground are an inevitable fact of childhood, but by teaching some simple safety rules, you can keep the injury count under control, and your toddler will have a lot more fun.

Steps

  1. 1
    Teach your child to stay in the area designated for younger kids, if your playground has one. Put the area designed for older children off-limits -- bigger kids can play rough and accidentally hurt little ones.
  2. 2
    Have your toddler touch the equipment before using it. If the surface feels hot or wet, tell your toddler that it isn't safe to use. Touch the slide, for example, and exclaim "Ouch!" or "Boo-boo!" so your toddler understands that it's too hot to play on.
  3. 3
    Instruct your child to wait his turn to use the slide. Tell him that it's never safe to go down the slide with other children, and it's also dangerous to go down on his stomach or back, or to slide head-first. Once your child reaches the top of the slide, have him make sure no one's standing at the bottom before he slides down.
  4. 4
    Teach your toddler to sit in swings as she would in a chair. That means no standing or kneeling, missy, and no sharing the seat with another child. Tell her to hold on to the swing's chains or ropes tightly with both hands, so that she and the swing stay in the same spot.
  5. 5
    Exaggerate the consequences of roughhousing to your child if he refuses to use the equipment properly. You may know from your own playground days that the swing set won't really flip over if you swing too high, and the slide won't really come out of the ground if you fool around at the top. But if your child thinks they will, he might use the equipment a bit more carefully, and hey -- it's your turn to be the one telling the tall tales.
  6. 6
    Advise your child not to drink from the aerosol water jets if your playground has a spraying-water feature. The momentary refreshment is not worth the tummy-ache later from waterborne illness.
  7. 7
    Steer your toddler away from equipment that requires significant upper-body strength, such as tall ladders, climbing walls, high bars and track rides. Although you may be proud that he wants to tackle the challenge of the "big boy" equipment, your child hasn't yet developed the strength needed to use these things, and he may get injured if he tries to climb on them.
  8. 8
    Ask your toddler to never push or hit other children at the playground. Pushing can cause a child to fall off the equipment and get injured.
  9. 9
    Tell your child to avoid touching or picking up trash at the playground, to prevent the spread of germs. Playgrounds are littered with all kinds of yucky items, and it can be horrifying to see your child playing with a dead squirrel or snacking on someone's half-eaten bag of chips.

Tips

  • Always supervise your child at the playground. Accidents can still happen even if your toddler understands basic safety rules.Inspect the playground for hazards before allowing your toddler to play there. For example, if the equipment isn't standing on soft material, such as mulch, wood chips or rubber mats, don't let your child play on it.Dress your toddler appropriately for the playground. Don't allow her to wear necklaces or carry a backpack with her on the equipment, and have her wear pants and shirts without drawstrings that may get tangled on bars and rails. Apply sunscreen to prevent sunburn, even on cloudy days.

Article Info

Categories: Education and Communications

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