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June 1, 2017 - Summer playground safety tips from a pediatrician (Hint: Grownups should stay off the slides)


MOBILE, Ala. - As summer beckons, school-age children and their caregivers will spend more time at playgrounds and on outdoor play equipment. Often though, that also means more children are treated for injuries including broken bones and even burns from scorching hot slides.

“Most commonly, we see extremity fractures,” said Dr. Jason Richerson, who leads the USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital Pediatric Emergency Department. “The arms are usually involved as children try to catch themselves when they fall. The legs are also commonly fractured.”

Dr. Richerson offers these tips for keeping youngsters as safe as possible at play:

  • Home playground equipment should be checked regularly, ensuring it is secured to the ground. Fatal injuries have occurred when equipment falls on children. Over time, weather can also cause equipment to become less sturdy.
  • Big kids and adults should not accompany toddlers down slides. This can lead to what’s called a toddler fracture (tibial fracture) where the child’s foot catches on the sides of the slide and the force of the larger child or adult causes a twisting motion resulting in a bone break.
  • Beware of metal playground equipment on sunny days. Slides can reach very high temperatures during summer months, resulting in severe burns.
  • Check for stinging insect nests where kids play. Wasps, bees, and hornets often set up in the crevices of equipment. Inspect home and public park equipment. Don’t forget about ants. Talk to children about avoiding ant beds.
  • Give little ones your full attention. Many accidents happen in just a few moments when caregivers are busy with another child or become distracted. It’s vital to stay focused on younger children at a playground.

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