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Play is an important part of a child’s development. When playing outside, children can have fun and be adventurous. Play also provides children with an opportunity for social development and growth through interaction with other children.
The backyard or local playground is a great place to run, climb, swing, explore and play imaginary games. With careful planning, these environments can provide challenges and fun for children while maintaining their safety.
Some play and recreation equipment commonly associated with injuries include:
Other typical backyard injuries include:
Play should be enjoyable but, most importantly, play should be safe. Children under five years should be supervised at all times when playing outdoors. Older children need adult supervision when using trampolines and equipment such as bikes and skateboards.
Whenever your child is using play equipment:
When using community play equipment, make an assessment about how safe it is and whether it is appropriate for your child. Report any problems to your local council.
Ideally, a play area needs to cater for various ages and interests and differing physical, social and mental abilities. If buying play equipment for home use, consider your child’s age and abilities, and the equipment’s quality, cost and maintenance.
There are Australian safety standards that apply to playground equipment. It is up to you to check and make sure the equipment is suitable for your needs and situation.
Be aware of safety features to look for when buying play equipment. Do not assume that all products are safe.
When assessing and installing play equipment:
Trampolines are not recommended for children under six years old because children in this age group are more prone to serious injuries.
If we scoot to the park, is it safer for my child to leave
her helmet on while playing on playground equipment?
Children should always wear a helmet when riding or scooting, but when they get off, take off the helmet. Leaving a helmet on your child while at the park might seem a good way to protect them from bumps and falls, but the helmet can get snagged (e.g. on play equipment or tree branches)
or get stuck in between gaps, posing a strangulation risk. To prevent playground injuries, adult supervision is always recommended anytime a child is using play equipment.
We’re thinking about getting a trampoline. Are some
trampolines safer than others?
No trampoline can be guaranteed to be safe. Trampolines that are spring-free or that have a netted enclosure and safety pads are better options, but the best thing you can to do to prevent trampoline injuries is to set rules for safe use and always have an adult supervising.
Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital Community Information. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.
Reviewed October 2018.
This information is awaiting routine review. Please always seek the most recent advice from a registered and practising clinician.
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This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.