School Playground Safety
School playground safety is an important consideration when considering your overall school safety program. Each year, according to a study done by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2001, 200,000 children head to the emergency room due to accidents on the playground. Of these injuries, 45% are considered severe. Schools must take measures to protect their students when designing and monitoring their playgrounds.
One of the most important things to check when inspecting for playground safety is the surface underneath the playground. Experts recommend that playgrounds have at least 12 inches of a soft surface underneath the playground apparatus. This surface could be pea gravel, rubber chips, wood chips, or some other material that gives if children fall on it.
All hardware needs to be inspected for bolts or hooks that protrude out of the surface. Sharp points or edges also must be eliminated when inspecting for school safety. Also, inspect the area for any tripping hazards. Guardrails should be installed on high structures that children could potentially fall from. Also, make sure that there are not small spaces between pieces of equipment where children could be caught.
If the playground appears to be safe, you can make it even safer by teaching your students proper playground etiquette. Consider having a school safety assembly and using it as a time to instruct students how to properly behave while on the playground. Students found breaking playground safety rules should face a consequence, such as missed recess time, so that they realize that safety is important.