Playground safety precautions

, Posted in Local, Weather, Posted: Fri, May 2 2014 at 8:33 AM, Updated: Fri, May 2 2014 at 9:30 PM

Medford, Ore. -- With the weather heating up, the playground is often where kids spend a majority of their time.

Playing is fun and doctors encourage the physical activity, but safety can vary site to site. Enjoying a great playground is a rite of passage for many children, but injuries can and do occur.

Some are serious, a few are even fatal. According to the U.S.  Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are more than 200,000  trips to the emergency room each year from playground-related injuries, (most from falls).

When kids fall from a high place, they fall on their outstretched hand and then get a small fracture in the wrist or the elbow.

Doctors say parents can take safety precautions. First, the surface of the playground matters a lot; you'll want to avoid concrete. If a child should happen to fall on his or her shoulder, neck, wrist, knees, ankles, then that concrete is not going to give. Instead, look for surfaces made of sand, wood chips or safety-tested mats.

Dr. David Marshall also says to make sure the equipment is in good shape; that means no loose bolts or splintered wood, and appropriate for the age of the child.

Also, nothing can replace adult supervision. One other thing parents should be watching out for, especially in this heat, is burns associated with playground slides. Metal isn't the only material that can cause thermal burns, so it's always a good idea to test slides and other playground materials that are out in the sun on hot days.

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