Many kid friendly hotels and restaurants boast play areas for your children. While these playgrounds can give harried traveling parents a few minutes respite and give kids with cabin fever a way to burn off some energy, parents need to keep a few safety tips in mind.
First, check with the staff to be sure the play area wasn’t painted with lead based paint. Wood playsets are generally treated with chemicals, so be sure to have kids wash their hands after playing on them. With either type of outdoor play set, be sure your children don’t put their mouth on them.
Keep the play area surface in mind. Wood chips, play mats and other “spongy surfaces” are safer than gravel, dirt, and grass. Because the soft spongy materials absorb energy better, your child is less likely to break a bone when they fall. Watch very young children around wood chips. They are just as likely to taste them as to play in them.
To reduce the risk of serious injury, children under 5 should not climb more than five feet off the ground. Make sure to remove any jackets with hoods before they reach the playground; hoods can easily become choking hazards in the heat of the moment. Other hazardous clothing can include loose pants, pants that are too long, and untied shoes.
Ball Pits were all the rage a few years ago, but they’ve fallen out of favor because they’re very difficult to keep clean, and many places have simply removed them. There’s no telling what could be lurking down below all of those brightly colored balls, so keep the kids out of them. Spinning merry-go-rounds have likewise faded from playgrounds, but if you happen to find one, make sure your kids understand that they can go flying off!
At any playground, children should behave. Pushing and shoving not only lead to hurt feelings, but at the top of a slide or fireman’s pole, they can lead to injury also.