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