Any parent will know that there is a certain age that children reach when they start wanting, or demanding, their own independence. This can be a tough time for a parent as you have to come to terms with the fact that you can’t have them by your side forever, but it doesn’t mean you can’t continue to care for them. The first step for most children when they get to this stage is to go and play outside of the house with some of their friends on a local play park or playing field.
However, a problem arises when it comes to the condition of your local playing facilities. When I was younger and when my parents were kids there was an abundance of play parks but nowadays it seems they have diminished in number and the ones that are still standing have been neglected and are no longer fit for children. So what should you look out for when choosing a play park your children can safely play on?
It’s perfectly normal to give your children some independence when they reach the stage where they crave it, but this needs to be done one step at a time. Therefore you need to ideally find a play area that isn’t too far from your home so that you can easily come and find them should you need to. It’s also best that it isn’t on the other side of any main roads so that your child can safely travel to and from it without you worrying too much.
Signs Of Rubbish –
Although litter isn’t exactly dangerous to your child; if there is an abundance of it around then it could be a sign that the park isn’t being looked after appropriately by the relevant council. Excess rubbish could lead you to think about what else there is lying around that hasn’t been cleared up, such as animal waste or signs or drug use.
Rubber Safety Tiles –
Since these rubber safety tiles have been introduced into play parks they have drastically reduced the number of accidents that have occurred. The safety surfacing cushions any falls that your child may have and makes sure there are no major injuries. Most play areas will have these rubber safety tiles installed but if your local one doesn’t it might be a good idea to contact your council to see what they can do.
Broken Equipment –
If your local play park has been neglected then you are likely to find that some of the equipment is either damaged or completely broken. It’s a good idea to check that everything is in working order before you let your child loose to play to their hearts content, because a broken see-saw or a damaged slide could lead to some nasty injuries that could have been avoided.
We all know that it is difficult to let our children take that first step on the road to independence, but if you take the right measures and be sure they are safe at all times you can be with them every step of the way.
Chris Mayhew remembers the state that play parks were in when he was younger and bemoans the condition of some of them today. He is working for Smith Brothers who are a professional supplier of safety surfacing solutions including play tiles and rubber safety mats.