Now that spring has arrived, families are enjoying outings to local parks. But during Playground Safety Week, April 21-25, parents are reminded to actively supervise their children when playing on a playground.

“Lack of or improper supervision is associated with about 45 percent of playground-related injuries,” said Nicole Vesely, Safe Kids coordinator at American Family Children’s Hospital.

Vesely said that more than 270,000 kids each year are treated in emergency rooms because of injuries on the playground. Seventy-five percent of the injuries are from falls that cause concussions, broken bones and internal injuries. But most playground fatalities are from strangulation.

“Playgrounds are great places for kids to get exercise and explore,” Vesely said. “With active supervision and four basic playground tips, every day at the playground can be a walk in the park.”

1. Actively supervise children on playgrounds. It won’t be hard — they’ll probably be calling for you to watch them climb, jump and swing.

2. Take your kids to playgrounds with shock-absorbing surfaces such as rubber, synthetic turf, sand, pea gravel, wood chips or mulch. If your child falls, the landing will be more cushioned than on asphalt, concrete, grass or dirt.

3. Dress appropriately for the playground. Remove necklaces, purses, scarves or clothing with drawstrings that can get caught on equipment and pose a strangulation hazard. Even helmets can be dangerous on a playground, so save those for bikes.

4. Teach children that pushing, shoving or crowding while on the playground can be dangerous. Encourage the older kids to look out for the younger ones. Little kids play differently than big kids. It is important to have a separate play area for children under 5.

For more playground tips, visit www.safekids.org/playgroundsafety.

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