Unsafe Playgrounds Essay, Research Paper
One of the major concerns in elementary physical education today that you may not even think about is playground safety. A recent survey found that almost every two-and-a-half minutes in the United States a child receives emergency medical care for a playground related injury. This alone should let us realize that something needs to be done to prevent these injuries.
There are many factors that can cause injuries on the playground, one of the most important being the surfacing under and around the equipment. Seventy Percent of all playground injuries involve falls, so this shows the importance of the surface. The problem is that no surface is exactly perfect. Each type of surface has positive and negative characteristics. There seem to be four major factors that determine what type of surfacing you should select. The first one is acceptable material. According to the USCPSC(United States Consumer Product Safety Commission) materials that can be used are wood chips; bark mulch, engineered wood fiber, sand, gravel, shredded rubber, and other synthetic material. Concrete and asphalt are not acceptable surfaces, as you should know. A little know fact is that turf and grass are not recommended because their shock-absorbing capabilities vary with the climate.
Another factor is the height of the equipment and the depth of the surface. You have to make sure the surface can absorb a fall from the height of the equipment. Four times the number of accidents occur with heights over six feet, this led the NPPS to recommend that equipment for five through twelve year olds be no more than eight feet tall.
Another factor is the maintenance of the surface. If the surface is not kept free of debris and kept clean the shock absorbing ability will decrease. This will lead a safe playground surface to become very dangerous. The last factor is use zones. This is the placement of the surface. Stationary equipment must have at least six feet of surface in all directions while slides need four feet longer that the height of the slide. Swings require in front and behind and at least twice the height of the pivot.
In a national survey it was found that three fourths of playgrounds have suitable surface material. While this seems like a large number but only less then half of all playgrounds have adequate surface material depths. But overall the maintenance of most playgrounds seems to be improving. With 140,000 injuries occurring every year something needs to be done. The results of the new survey may lead to better safety for the children of America.