Outdoor Toys: Safety
There is nothing that compares to the sight of children playing in the great outdoors except, of course, children playing safely in the great outdoors. Parks, playgrounds, and backyards around the world are filled with a multitude of outdoor toys—playhouses, trampolines, garden swings, slides, play furniture, climbing frames, and sledges—and it’s important that each of these toys are built and maintained according to the highest outside toy safety standards. After all, outdoor playtime should be fun-filled laughter and friends—and safe for everyone.
Outside play should be safe and injury free, complete with age-appropriate outdoor toys, adult supervision, suitable falling surfaces in case of accidents, and anchored, safe equipment without ropes, strings or other safety hazards. Outdoor toy safety ensures children are free to enjoy playground spaces whilst parents are secure in the knowledge that safety standards are met and their children can experience the simple joys of childhood. Check out these outside toy safety tips to keep children of all ages safe during outdoor playtime.
Now let’s explore outdoor toy safety for these fabulous and fun playground toys.
What would playtime be without a charming playhouse in the mix? A playhouse is the springboard to imaginative play—be it a fort or a castle or spaceship—its role in play is only limited by a child’s imagination. Children love to play and explore, so it’s important their playhouse is safe for all manner of childhood adventure. A safe playhouse should be secure so that it can’t tip over during play. Any windows should be open or made of safety glass. Beneath the playhouse should be a layer of appropriate ground covering. Each playhouse should be checked periodically for uninvited guests—spiders, bees, snakes—and rails should be secure so curious little heads won’t get stuck accidentally.
Trampolines are great fun and a wonderful way to get kids outside and active. To ensure safety, trampolines should be placed on level ground with an acceptable falling ground covering underneath. A trampoline enclosure with padding and safety nets should be in place. Only one child (or adult) should jump at a time and parents should always supervise trampoline play. Children should be taught to never jump onto the trampoline from another surface like the porch, roof, or a swing set.
Garden swings are also an inspiration for imagination, giving children an opportunity to soar. But to keep them safe, it is imperative that swings are placed on level ground with protective surfacing underneath. In addition, swings should be placed in safety zones with no other playground equipment or obstacles into which a child might fall (or jump). There should also be plenty of space for swinging and not bumping into each other or those on the ground nearby.
Most children love to slide, but safety should still always be a priority. Slides should be the appropriate size for children who are using them. A good rule is that the slide should end on a flat surface and the child’s knee should reach the bottom of the slide. The entire slide area should be covered with cushioned ground surface like sand or wood chips. Parents and caregivers should always check slides for sharp edges and corners before the sliding begins.
Play Furniture is another wonderful way to fuel imaginative play. Safety for play furniture is similar to the larger outside toys discussed here. Play furniture should always be placed on a level surface with protective ground covering underneath. Remember, just because it’s a table doesn’t mean a child won’t climb on it, jump on it (off of it). Always check for sharp edges and exposed surfaces that could cause injury before the children begin to play.
Climbing frames, known by many names around the world like Monkey Bars and Jungle Gyms, should always be placed on level ground and secure to prevent movement during play. On the ground surface should have protective covering in case of falls to prevent injury. Additionally, climbing frames should be made of materials that won’t get too hot for children to touch whilst at play. Adult playground supervisors should check that equipment is built to prevent children from getting stuck and free from choking hazards.
Sledges and Sleighs
Sledges, also called sleighs or sleds, offer a great wintertime option for outdoor fun. But like all outdoor fun, sledges need to adhere to outside toy safety rules. The sledging hill should not be too steep and should have a lengthy area for stopping at the bottom. The Sledge should have some steering and braking capabilities and a safety helmet and warm clothing should always be worn whilst sledging.
Let the Playground Fun Begin!
With these simple outside toy safety guidelines, outdoor playtime should be both fun and safe for children
By Katie Kress