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Adult Supervision Is the Number One Way to Prevent Playground Injuries

CPSC Playground Safety Poster

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), at least 200,000 children age 14 or younger are treated in emergency rooms each year for playground-related injuries. More than 10 percent of these are traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and the rate of TBIs is rising.
Because public playgrounds are numerous and easily accessible, most kids spend their time on these rather than private playgrounds. Thus, the largest percentage of playground injuries take place on public facilities. Monkey bars and climbing equipment are responsible for the highest number of injuries.
But despite the risks, we know kids love playgrounds and benefit from the exercise and social interaction. The good news: Adults can play a key role in keeping kids safe on their favorite playgrounds with these tips and resources:
boy on swing

Keep Your Kids Safe With These Tips

Areas underneath the equipment, known as fall surfaces, should be made of soft material such as wood chips, mulch, sand or rubber.

Inspect equipment for any piece (especially metal) that may be hot from the sun.
Watch for hazards or protrusions like bolts, hooks, stumps or rocks that could trip or cut children.

Look for neglected maintenance, such as rusty or broken equipment.

Make sure kids wear safe clothing. No loose scarves or hoodies with drawstrings, as these can become a strangulation hazard if entangled with equipment. Shoes should be comfortable for play and protect feet, like sneakers. Tie long hair back as well.

Make sure there are strong and sturdy guardrails to prevent falls.

Your children should be using age-appropriate equipment. Read all playground signs for warnings and instructions.

Most importantly, the best way to prevent injuries is parental supervision. Talk to your kids about appropriate playground behavior before you visit the playground and watch them while you’re there.

More Resources for Safe Playgrounds
To ensure your local playground is safe, the National Recreations and Parks Association has a network of Certified Playground Safety Inspectors (CPSI). The CPSI certification program provides comprehensive and up-to-date training on playground safety issues, including hazard identification, equipment specifications, surfacing requirements and risk management methods. To find your local CPSI, click here.
A thorough playground safety checklist and ranking tool, created by the National Program for Playground Safety, can be found here. If you see safety hazards or poorly maintained equipment, reach out to the owner as soon as possible. In most cases, this will be a school or park district.
Keeping our kids safe while out on the playground is an issue we can all get behind, and one that benefits the community as a whole. So let’s all get out there and have some fun!

Recent Spike in U.S. Traffic Deaths Reverses 40-Year Trend

Experts Looking for Answers to Rising Traffic Injuries, Deaths

Pedestrian Accident
Accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists are also on the rise.

Cheaper Gas, Better Economy, Distracted Driving Among Contributing Factors

For decades, auto accidents have trended downward. Road fatalities steadily declined from more than 50,000 annually in the early 70s to just over 30,000 in recent years. Credit goes to many advances in safety, including:
  • Crashworthy vehicles that better protect those involved in crashes
  • New technologies like anti-lock braking, vehicle stability controls and self-driving sensors that prevent crashes in the first place
  • Educational programs and tougher laws aimed at seatbelt use, teen drivers and driving while impaired

But starting in 2015, road safety hit the skids when the number of people lost in crashes jumped 7.2 percent from 2014, the largest percentage increase in 50 years. And the news for 2016 may be even worse as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently projected an 8 percent increase in traffic deaths for the first nine months of 2016 over 2015.

Some safety experts have blamed the increase on more drivers traveling more miles. Longer commutes and more road trips, coupled with cheaper gas and lower unemployment, add up to more drivers on the road. Even those not in vehicles are at a higher risk as car-pedestrian and bike fatalities have risen as well.

But NHTSA’s Administrator Mark Rosekind said he and his colleagues can’t accept that a better economy means more people are going to die on our roads. “We still have to figure out what is underlying those lives lost,” he said. To that end, NHTSA and the National Safety Council joined forces to launch the Road To Zero campaign in October, which aims to end all traffic fatalities in the U.S. in the next 30 years. This campaign provides grants to non-profits that help research and implement innovative highway safety measures.

Car Crash? There’s an App For That

The spike in traffic fatalities and accidents is often blamed on the use of smartphones. According to the latest data from the Pew Research Center, almost 80 percent of U.S. adults own smartphones. More than 600,000 of those people are operating a smartphone while driving at any given time.

Texting and driving have proven to be a dangerous combination, with 78 percent of distracted driving-related crashes attributed to texting drivers. However, dangers from non-texting apps that encourage driver interaction have also arisen.

The messaging app Snapchat features a speed filter that tells users how fast they are traveling, which some have argued encourages drivers to travel at unsafe speeds. A man who suffered a traumatic brain injury during a recent collision is suing both the other driver for her recklessness as well as Snapchat for encouraging the teen to drive at unsafe speeds. Waze, a navigation app, rewards users for reporting traffic jams and roadside obstructions while driving. The “Gotta Catch ’Em All” mentality of Pokémon Go has caused accidents when users ignored safety to play the game.

Protect Yourself and Others

Traditionally the six root causes of serious accidents are driver inattention, fatigue, impaired driving, speeding, aggressive driving and adverse weather conditions. With those factors in mind, here are some tips you can use to prevent traffic accidents and protect yourself and others:

  • Silence and put away all phones for the duration of your drive.
  • Keep your eyes on the road and leave the distractions at home.
  • When buying a new or used car, prioritize safety ratings and purchase cars with safety features. Also be sure to run a recall check on your car at SaferCar.gov.
  • If you are a pedestrian or bicyclist, pay attention to vehicle traffic even if you have the right of way. A distracted driver could mean disaster.
  • Follow all posted speed limits and wear your seat belt.
  • Always drive alert, awake and sober.

Oversharing Online Can Cost You Your Job

Over half of Americans regret something they’ve posted online.
See Survey

Average Daily Screen Time Nine Hours
The average adult now spends more than nine hours per day consuming media via screen, including smartphone, television, gaming or e-books. Twenty percent of that time is dedicated to social media. As too many of us have found out the hard way, all this time online can come with a price. As we click, scroll and post into 2017, protect yourself and your kids from these Social Media pitfalls.

Heed the Top Seven Ways Using Social Media Can Get You Fired
More employers are looking at social media to screen potential candidates and monitor employees. Over 90 percent of employers use social media for recruiting, and three in four hiring managers check candidates’ social profiles before an interview. Maintaining a professional social media profile for your chosen career can help you get that dream job as well as keep it. Twenty-eight percent of employers have fired workers because they spent too much work time on social media, and 18 percent because of an offensive post. Here are the top seven social media no-no’s for employees:
Make racist, sexist or other offensive comments
Complain about your job or your clients
Share confidential information
Post something inappropriate on company social media
Use personal social media when you should be working
Post drunk photos from work gatherings
Broadcast your job search
Excess Screen Time Equals Health Issues
Screen time, whether in front of a computer, tablet or smartphone, can contribute to health issues in adults and children alike. Many hours spent in front of screens are causing an increase in headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision and eye strain.

Text-Neck 2

Staring at a smartphone also creates what doctors call “text neck.” As a person bends their neck to look down at a phone, the added weight causes pressure, pain and strain. Here are some ways to keep your screen time (and your children’s) in check and your body healthy:
Schedule children for regular eye exams.
Take frequent breaks.
Adjust for proper alignment. A digital screen should be centered and positioned about 4 to 5 inches below eye level and 20 to 28 inches from the center of the screen to the eyes (for an adult), 18 to 26 inches for a child.
Use anti-glare screens or position screens to avoid glare.
LCD and high-res screens are easier on the eyes. Screen brightness should be adjusted to fit the surroundings.
Blink frequently to keep your eyes moist.
Parents can visit the American Academy of Pediatrics for guidance on how to balance lifestyle with digital media and create a personalized family plan.

When Social Media Turns Anti-Social
Many people can navigate a healthy social media presence with intelligence and sense, but some are struggling to stay connected while staying safe. Kids are more likely to share personal details without thinking about the consequences, and connect with strangers who may be predatory. Recently, anonymous messaging apps like Kik have come under fire for allowing minors to message with strangers without alerting parents. Check out the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) OnGuard Online website for free online security tips and resources.
Finally, the most important way to protect your kids from unsafe online behavior is to keep the lines of face-to-face communication open. Talk to them about the potential dangers and encourage them to speak to you if they ever feel unsafe online. As reliance on screens increases, so will the need for honest, IRL (your teen will tell you that means “in real life”) conversations about what can or should be shared.