Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Winter Playground Safety

Winter is here and kids still want to play outside, but winter weather can turn their favorite playground into a safety hazard.

Here are three simple ways you can make sure your child’s playground is a winter wonderland of fun, and not an accident waiting to happen:

1) Dress your child appropriately.

Of course you will make sure your child is warm and dry. But see that scarf? That jacket hood? Remove it or secure it, otherwise it could get caught on a piece of playground equipment and become a choking hazard. Make sure your child isn’t wrapped up like a mummy either. In order to navigate a playground, your child needs to be able to bend their legs and arms. If they can’t, loosen their clothes up enough to provide this flexibility.

2) Check all playground equipment thoroughly.  

Look for ice on the slide. Snow piled up on steps. Slippery walkways. Standing water. Check the spot where your child will exit the slide to make sure there are no hard or dangerous objects buried in the snow or hidden in a puddle. Pay attention to fall zones where soft material can become as hard as concrete in the winter. Check to make sure structures haven’t become unstable due to harsh weather. And just like you would any other season, make sure all playground equipment is working properly and free of excessive wear and tear. If it is, avoid using it and request repairs.

3) Encourage safe play.

Talk with your child about slowing down on the stairs. Remind them to be patient with other children on the slide. While playing safely is important during every season, winter can be especially dangerous if children are running or jumping on frozen or slick surfaces. Younger children may not have the same experience with winter weather and be more tentative about playing or have a harder time gripping certain pieces of equipment. Encourage older children to be careful around them.

We hope these tips will ensure your child’s favorite playground is a fun and safe place this winter.