How Can I Make Sure a Playground is Appropriate for My Child?
It would be nice to assume that any playground will be built with children of all ages and abilities in mind. Unfortunately, this is not the case. It's important to make sure the playground your child is using is appropriate for his age and abilities, so you need to look for certain criteria before allowing him to play.
Age-Appropriate Activities and Equipment
There is a vast difference between the equipment a three-year-old can play on and the equipment an eight-year-old can use. Knowing what is age appropriate for your child will help ensure she isn't injured or scared by playground equipment.
Low slides and swings, soft surfaces, and climbing areas that don't leave open gaps for young kids to fall from are best for the five and under crowd. If you visit a playground that only has equipment and activities that would force you to follow your child closely while they play, it's probably meant for kids older than your child.
There are parks that offer playgrounds for younger and older children, and they usually separate them with signs or entrances. Look for these signs and make sure your child stays on the age-appropriate side when playing.
Is it Well-Maintained?
Equipment that is age-appropriate for your child but is not being well-maintained is a bad idea. Good repair practices are necessary for any playground to remain safe and functional. You need to scan the area before your child plays and make sure there are no issues with maintenance.
Well-maintained playground equipment should not have sharp or broken edges, loose or missing parts, or slippery or excessively hot surfaces, as these can pose serious dangers to children. Any of these hazards are a sign that the playground is not a good idea for your child.
Look for All-Ability Playgrounds
Every child should be able to have a fun day at the playground, and many all-ability playgrounds are making that possible. These parks are wheelchair accessible and have surfaces that allow children who need assistance moving around to have it without any problems. They also make sure to offer equipment and activities that any child can reach and enjoy.
All-ability playgrounds mean no child has to be left out. While you still need to make sure you follow age guidelines and that the playground stays well-maintained, you won't have to worry about a child with special needs being left out if there is an all-ability park in your area.
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