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Playing it Safe
To avoid playground injuries, Maryann Johnston, an emergency room nurse at Egleston Children¡¦s Hospital, offers the following tips.
„h Swing seats should be of lightweight material like rubber or canvas; wooden seats can hit and injure a child.
„h All S-hooks should be pinched closed as tightly as possible to prevent them from catching on a child¡¦s clothing and strangling a child.
„h Posts should be anchored in cement below ground level, as exposed cement can injure a child who falls on it.
„h At least six inches of soft loose material like wood chips or sand (or a surface like poured rubber) should be under and around equipment. Hard surfaces, including grass, do not absorb shock and can result in broken bones.
„h Protruding ends of bolts should be covered with protective caps that children cannot remove.
„h Metal slides can get very hot in direct sunlight in Atlanta -- they should face north or be shaded. The incline of the slide should not be steeper than a 30 degree angle.
„h The platform of a slide should be at least 22 inches long to give a child room to go safely from standing to sitting. The siderails of a slide should be at least four inches tall to prevent a child from falling.
„h All openings and the spaces between rungs should be smaller than 3.5 inches or larger than 9 inches wide to prevent a child¡¦s head from getting caught.
„h Rungs of all climbing equipment should be at least one inch in diameter so that a child¡¦s hands can grasp them easily.