Safety At Play

Child on playground slide
Teen drinking from water bottle
Parent and child fastening bike helmets before riding bikes

Playground Safety

All parents want their kids to have the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe environment. Playground falls are one of the leading causes of emergency department visits for kids. Thankfully, keeping kids safe doesn’t have to mean keeping them inside. There are lots of ways parents, teachers, and caregivers can ensure kids are staying active, safe and learning. Remember, active supervision is always the best defense! A few key tips can help make outside play areas as safe as possible.

  1. Playground falls are a common cause of injury, and most are because of landing surfaces. Look for playgrounds that have wood chips, shredded rubber, or pea gravel under swings and monkey bars.
  2. Be careful of what kids are wearing as they play. Drawstrings or loose clothing can get caught and strangle a child, so remove them before play.
  3. Big kids and little kids play differently. Be careful of lifting kids up to areas they can’t reach, as those items weren’t designed for their developmental stage.
  4. Be aware of the dangers around slides. Metal slides can get very hot in the sunshine, so be careful of bare legs to avoid burns. Never let a child ride down a slide between an adult’s legs, as their legs can get caught underneath the adult. Catch them at the bottom and enjoy seeing their happy face.
  5. Always make sure playground structures are maintained, without peeling paint, missing screws, or sharp edges. If you see anything that looks broken, contact the site staff, whether its a school, municipality, or park authority. Riding down a slide with a child on your lap can tangle their legs in yours, and even break them. Let the child ride down by themselves, and be there to catch them at the bottom.

Are your kids playing Pokemon Go? Read our safety guide Being Safe and Smart: Pokemon Go (PDF).

Wheeled Sports Safety

A Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) certified helmet is the easiest and most effective way to prevent a head injury in a bike crash.

Make sure the helmet fits by taking the Helmet Fit Test:

  • Eyes: When the helmet is on your head, you should be able to see the rim of the helmet when you look up. That’s one or two finger-widths above your eyebrows.
  • Ears: After you buckle them, the straps of the helmet should form a snug “V” around your ears.
  • Mouth: When your mouth is open all the way, the straps should touch your chin, nice and snug!

Helmets Aren't Just for Bikes

Scooters have one of the highest injury rates of any toy, so wearing a helmet on anything with wheels is important! Be a positive example – adults need helmets too. Replace helmets after a fall or after 4 years of use.

Winter Sports

The opportunity to do fun activities outside is one of the best things about living in Michigan. Ensuring those activities don’t end in someone getting hurt is even better. Follow these tips to stay safe on the ice, slopes, or sledding hill!

  1. Tens of thousands of kids are injured every year while sledding. When looking for a good hill to hit on your saucer, make sure it isn’t too steep, there are no trees, that the snow isn’t icy, and that the bottom of the hill is far from roads or driveways.
  2. Teach children to roll off a sled if it is going too fast, or aiming toward something unsafe.
  3. Steerable sleds are best to avoid other riders, trees, and streets.
  4. Helmets on sledding hills are recommended. It can be really difficult to guarantee no one will collide, especially on a popular hill. Protecting that brain is always first priority!
  5. Make sure your child’s equipment fits properly. Skis or snowboards that are too big or too small make someone more likely to fall, or crash into someone or something.
  6. Never let kids ski or snowboard alone. Most ski hill injuries happen when someone loses control. This most often happens when someone goes beyond their skills. Parents can help make sure kids stay in control.
  7. Even experienced skiers or snowboarders should wear helmets. (This means you too, Mom and Dad!) Make sure the helmet fits the right way, and is designed for winter sports - bike helmets won’t provide adequate protection. Replace a helmet after 5 years of use or a significant blow.
  8. Be aware of muscle fatigue and symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia. A couple hours on the slopes means it’s time for soup and hot chocolate, giving everyone and their fingertips time to warm up.