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What Safety Precautions Should Schools and Day Care Centers Take Regarding Playground Activities?

By Sara Schlafstein, Law Clerk and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In Vancouver, Washington and other cities, children can often be found on school, public, and day care center playgrounds. Physical activity is an important part of the school day and can help enhance the education experience for children. It is important when children are in the playground that safety precautions are taken. Day care center works, teachers, and staff members should provide attentive supervision. While mobile phones are great tools, mobile phones can also be a distraction for adults charged with the responsibility of playground supervision. All parts of the playground should be supervised.

Any rough play should be discontinued and appropriate discipline should be handed out if a particular child is misusing the equipment and / or causing a dangerous situation to persist on the playground itself. Discipline can include “time outs” and removal from the playground area. Many playgrounds are equipped with swings which can present a danger with normal use. Children, not on the swings, should keep a safety distance from the swing set area. Otherwise, serious injuries can result to the child on swing and / or the child on the ground. In addition, staff members should keep a close eye on the use of the swings and if a child seems to be swinging too high on a particular swing.

In Vancouver, Washington, KOIN 6 News and other media outlets reported that a student enrolled at Fisher’s Landing Elementary School suffered serious personal injuries. It was reported that the child may have been injured when using the schools swing set. The incident is currently under investigation. For further details about the incident and investigation, see Child Dies Following Playground Incident at Fisher’s Landing Elementary School.

Parents should ask schools and day care centers about policy and procedures for playground use. Parents should be informed about the number of supervisors and the rules that the children must follow during playground activities. Parents should also take the time review any school board rules and policies if the playground is located at a public school.

Safe Kids is a worldwide organization that promotes the safety and wellbeing of children. You read about some general playground safety tips at Playground Safety – Safe Kids. The safety tips presented include the following:

*Inspect the playground prior to play to make sure that all equipment is in good working order;

*Inspect the playground and remove any hazards like broken bottles, glass, sharp objects, and other trash on or around the playground;

*Make sure that the enclosures are in good repair and appropriately latched and closed off especially at day care centers or other locations where young childre at play.

A parent is faced with a number of challenges when dealing with the aftermath of a playground injury. The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Park and Playground Injuries, School Injuries, Day Care Centers Injuries, and other topics. You can get a free copy of this book at The ABCs of Child Injury.