JCC Parks & Recreation urges playground inspections and parental supervision to keep children safe
Date: April 29, 2004
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ruth Richey, JCC Communications
Phone: (757) 253-6864
James City County Parks and Recreation is urging adults to inspect residential playgrounds and fix potential hazards and to supervise children during play during Playground Safety Week April 26-30.
"JCC works hard to make its playgrounds inviting and fun for children of all ages, but the most important consideration is always maintaining a safe environment and insuring adequate supervision," said Parks Superintendent John Carnifax. A certified playground inspector inspects the County's playground equipment on a regular basis and a visual inspection is done daily at playgrounds that are staffed. "Parents still need to directly supervise their children in order to provide the safest play environment possible."
Children ages 5-14 are at highest risk for a playground injury, the leading cause of injury in the United States to children in this age range in both school and childcare settings. The majority of playground injuries are falls, which can result in head injuries or broken bones. The most common cause of fatal injury on the playground is strangulation resulting from entanglement or entrapment. The Virginia Department of Health recommends keeping children safe at play by following the S-A-F-E model:
- "S" Provide adequate adult supervision to watch for potential hazards, observe, intercede, facilitate play when necessary and be available in case an injury occurs.
- "A" Guide children to play on age-appropriate equipment.
- "F" Check the playground's surface for its ability to protect against harmful falls. A good guideline is 12 inches of loose fill, such as hardwood fiber/mulch, pea gravel, sand and synthetic materials.
- "E" Examine equipment to see if it is in good working order. Examine children's clothing and remove loose clothing and drawstrings from hoods. Bike helmets on the playground also may present a risk for strangulation.
The Center for Injury and Violence Prevention has safety checklists for home and public playgrounds. Call the Virginia Department of Health's Center for Injury and Violence Prevention toll-free at 1-800-732-8333, or visit http://www.vahealth.org/civp.