Safety at play In a public park or playground
As there is more space and more people about, it is easy for the child to wander off and get lost. Parents should never lose sight of their child and should supervise his play. Open stretches of water, dogs, ball games, toy equipment, other children on bicycles, suspect strangers, dirty sweets and food to be picked up, are all possible hazards in a public playground. Parents should check the large-scale play equipment for safety before they allow their child to go on it, and the under-fives need supervision when playing on swings, slides and roundabouts. Most public parks have a first aid centre and parents should know where it is. It is also wise to carry a mini first aid kit ready for emergencies, composed of medicated wipes, antiseptic cream, plasters, antiseptic dressings and sting cream.
A playground for children should have a soft surface such as grass, sand or loose gravel, not concrete, and the equipment should not be too high. There should be plenty of room around the swings and roundabouts. Dogs should be banned, or there should be a fence round the play area. Slides should be built into a slope, and there should be frequent inspections to check the safety of the equipment and to carry out repairs. There should be an age restriction, and the park should be supervised.
Water and ice
Many children are drowned each year, either at home, in ponds or rivers, in swimming baths or at the beach. Small children should never be left unsupervised near water, even if it is only a few centimetres deep. Observe the following rules:
- Teach children to swim at as early an age as possible.
- Teach them to respect water but not to fear it.
- Use water wings, safety floaters and rubber rings to give them early confidence.
- Do not let them paddle in a dirty river, pond or paddling pool, especially if there is a danger of broken glass or sharp stones.
- Do not let them paddle or swim in any water where there are strong currents.
- Never allow a child to use an air bed, rubber boat or water toy if there is any risk of it being blown out to sea.
- Do not let a small child get out of his depth in the sea or at the baths.
- Children should not play on ice – even if it is thick enough to bear their weight at the edges, it gets thinner towards the middle, and immersion in icy water can kill within seconds.
- Life jackets must always be worn by children when holidaying or living on boats.
There are many other points about safety, too numerous to include, but the main point is this: never leave a child at risk.