Source: BCI Burke Company
FOND DU LAC, Wisconsin (April 24, 2014) – In celebration of National Playground Safety month in April, the BCI Burke Company encourages awareness and safe playground practices for both kids and adults.
“There is nothing better than letting off steam at your favorite playground, and there are simple things we can all do—young and old—to make our playgrounds safer,” said Tim Ahern, BCI Burke CEO/owner. “Some of my fondest memories as a kid are of swinging and sliding at the local Fond du Lac parks, and outdoor play areas all over the globe are still one of the most compelling ways for kids to stretch their muscles and imaginations,” Ahern adds.
Yet each year, more than 200,000 injuries occur on America’s playgrounds, according to the National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS). Moreover, 15 percent of these injuries were classified as severe, with 3 percent requiring emergency room attention.
During Playground Safety Week, and all year long, Burke emphasizes the importance of education for both children and adults, including parents, teachers and other caregivers. Play safety also requires keen awareness to monitor children’s behaviors and play patterns, common sense, and redirecting behaviors when potential issues arise.
No matter how safe the equipment is, it cannot supervise the kids. Unfortunately, the lack of adult supervision is a major problem on playgrounds across America. Even when playgrounds are built with the highest quality materials, once they are put in the ground, education needs to be ramped up with adults and kids regarding safe play practices. One of the most important, yet often overlooked components is an effective supervision program.
Training is the first step to help communities reduce injury statistics and make visits to the playground safer. Important tips to be aware of when moving and exploring on a playground include:
•A play area should be provided for preschoolers, ages 2-5, as well as, a separate play area for children ages 5-12 due to the differing capabilities and needs of children. Supervision needs to be provided to ensure that children play on equipment designated for their age.
•It is vital to use surfacing around play structures. Options include, but are not limited to: turf, pea gravel, engineered wood fiber, loose rubber, sand, rubber tiles or poured in place rubber. It is best to consult with a CPSI (Certified Playground Safety Inspector) or your playground manufacturer to ensure all safety and accessibility guidelines are followed.
•Once the safety surfacing is installed, it is critical that it be properly maintained around the play area to ensure that maximum safety is consistently provided over time.
•Be aware of completely bounded openings on playground equipment—they should measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches to prevent head entrapment for a child at play.
•Make sure debris and litter is cleaned up promptly to prevent tripping hazards or health issues.
•Look for safety signs on playgrounds that help inform parents and other supervisors which structures are appropriate for the age of the children in their care and remind them about adult supervision recommendations.
•Always supervise children at play. A majority of injuries occur on playgrounds because children are not being monitored by adults.
•Be on the lookout for broken parts, rust, protruding hardware, sharp edges or other areas of disrepair.
•Choose a cooler part of the day to play, if possible. Be sure to apply sunscreen to protect children’s delicate skin.
•Interact with children at play. They take great pride in showing adults what they can do. This involvement also promotes better attention to safety.
Proud of their continued avid support of children’s play and safety, Burke is the only manufacturer to provide an NPPS Safe Playground Supervision Kit with each play system. NPPS also offers ample resources such as the Kid Checker Program. More information can be found at www.playgroundsafety.org.
About BCI Burke:
BCI Burke has been creating playgrounds since the early 1920’s and is a premier manufacturer of commercial playground, park, and recreation equipment. The Burke Reinventing PlayTM business philosophy focuses on continual improvement and exceptional customer commitment, as well as creating the highest quality playground, park and recreation products, backed by the best warranty in the industry. For more information, visit www.bciburke.com.