As you Facebookers may have seen, we came across an insightful article on the Victorian Government’s Better Health Channel website about the benefits of playgrounds for children and how to ensure they play safe on a range of play equipment (you can view the article here). Being a retailer of playgrounds, trampolines and play equipment, this article is very close to our hearts, so we’d like to educate our customers further about playground safety and our thoughts about the piece.
We can provide our customers with the safest playgrounds and play equipment products possible, but it’s up to you, the parents, to ensure your children play safe on all play equipment. This is an area that we are exploring further to assist our customers in ensuring their children are safe as we’d genuinely feel horrible if we heard of a child being injured as a result of playing unsafely on one of our products, let alone any other playground/play product. So this is why we really took notice of this Child Safety article and why we will endeavour to provide our customers with more safety and health information and advice.
Regarding the benefits of play, the article lists several specific benefits that playing and playgrounds provide kids, and we agree with every one of them. An interesting point is that the article lists ‘Being challenged and taking risks’ as a benefit of play in essentially a ‘playground safety’ article. In today’s society, risk is usually associated with danger and therefore avoided. Thinking back to my own childhood, the public playgrounds I enjoyed the most have nowadays been deemed too dangerous, and even the elevated cubby house and trampoline I had in my backyard (which were incredible fun) wouldn’t seem ‘safe’ compared to the modern perception of safe play equipment. These childhood play equipment experiences were ‘fun’ because they were challenging to navigate and consequently had risks. So are the children of today still being challenged, or is the increased awareness of safety stifling their development and playground experience? Do you think the line is being drawn too closely to safety rather than adventure and challenges?
Our opinion is that as safety awareness has increased tenfold over the past decade, play equipment design has needed to keep up to remain acceptable, and we believe this has been achieved whilst still integrating positive challenges and risks. However, playgrounds must always maintain challenging components for the good of children’s development, so it’s up to parents and supervisors to manage the way kids play on playgrounds, setting and enforcing rules and guidelines.
The article goes on to inform us about many different techniques to keep kids safe on playgrounds, and we love the majority of them. Regarding the ‘Playground equipment at home’ section, we’ve ensured our products provide guard rails with raised platforms and bolt covers where needed, and we can recommend the best people to contact regarding safe surfacing of play areas. We also believe that all play equipment, regardless of the quality, should be regularly checked for any signs of wear and tear, especially wooden products because wood is a natural resource that has natural imperfections. However, in the ‘Safety on trampolines’ section, we disagree with sinking the trampoline into the ground, because unless it’s legs are galvanised and it’s designed to be sunk into the ground, doing so will be detrimental to the unit’s strength, performance and longevity. Instead, we offer anchor kits with all of our trampolines that keep the trampoline completely secure whilst not jeopardizing it’s structural integrity. We also have the best quality safety nets on the market available for purchase with every one of our trampolines. We agree with the rest of their suggestions, especially that trampolines do have to be considered as sports equipment and approached with care, and again, assessed regularly for signs of wear and tear. We also only sell trampolines that come with mats and meet all Australian Standards, and our AlleyOOP trampoline range is the safest money can buy in Australia, so we’ve got all your safety concerns covered!
So even though playgrounds may not be the same as we remembered them when we were young, the kids of today still have a ball on them and will still be challenged by them whilst keeping safe. Remember to set rules for your children when playing on playgrounds, keep an eye on them, and most of all, have fun!