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6 Tips to Prevent Injuries at Playtime

Playground Equipment

Dr. Shevaun Doyle, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery and also a mom, shares her top six tips to prevent injury while children are at play:

1. Parents should not go down a slide with children. While many think this prevents injury, it can actually do more harm than good. Sliding with a child can often lead to lower extremity injuries. While on the subject of slides, be mindful of the slide’s surface. On sunny days, slides may harbor heat that combined with the friction of slide may cause a burn.

2. An easy way to prevent trampoline accidents: only allow one person on at a time. While it’s fun to play together, this can often lead to collisions. In addition, the trampoline mat and frame should be level with the ground to reduce higher energy falls from height. If possible, the surface surrounding a trampoline should be a soft material, such as wood chips, mulch, sand, or rubber.

3. Keep in mind that playgrounds and recess may be more dangerous than gym class. Gym classes are usually safer because they are often held in smaller, more confined areas, use mats and are organized by a teacher or coach.

4. Guide children on the monkey bars to ensure they don’t fall off and have proper arm support to prevent upper extremity fractures, dislocations and muscle pulls. Be certain the equipment is sturdy, not rusty or weakened, in good condition preferably over a soft surface. Avoid any loose clothing that may get caught in the equipment.

5. Be mindful of playground and playing field surfaces! Are children playing on a hard-top, grass, turf or wood chips? Different surfaces lend themselves to different injuries or levels of protection from fractures, bumps and bruises. The softer the surface, the better. If your child is playing sports on artificial turf, they should wear turf shoes. Using grass cleats on turf field increases the risk of injury.

6. Stay off your electronic device at all times while your children are at play!

Updated on February 27, 2020

Dr. Shevaun Doyle, pediatric orthopedic surgeon

Dr. Shevaun Doyle specializes in general pediatric orthopedics, pediatric orthopedic trauma, pediatric and adolescent metabolic bone disease, and scoliosis.

Topics: Pediatrics
The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.