Parks are a wonderful place to spend time with your children, and without even thinking about it, they offer many wonderful benefits to child development. It gives them a chance to burn energy, develop their gross motor skills and improve their strength and coordination. It is also an opportunity for them to build relationships with others, learn to share space and be patient for their turn.
There are many types of parks for various ages and every community has different policies for their upkeep. I want to discuss some safety precautions you should consider when visiting your local park to keep your kids safe and will allow you to relax and let them enjoy themselves.
1. The Walk Through
Before you let your child play on a park structure, give a walk through around and on the play structure. It really doesn’t matter where you live, whether it is a lower, middle or an upper class neighborhood, teenagers often hangout at night on the park structures when they have nowhere else to go. Give a look for any broken glass, signs of drugs/needles anything that may put your child at risk.
If you do see something dangerous like glass or a needle, immediately call your community government/city council to come clean it up. They will have trained staff with safety protocols in place for cleanup and needle receptacles if required.
2. Foot Protection
If there is sand at the park, I would avoid flip-flops and suggest footwear that gives more foot coverage. Because you can’t see what’s in the sand, even a sharp rock or animal feces may lay under the sand surface. Running shoes are ideal and even Crocs or a thick soled sandal is better than flip-flops. This will also give them more stability while climbing on the structure.
3. Even when the weather isn’t very hot, kid’s burn a great deal of energy and can easily become dehydrated. Always have a bottle of water on hand.
4. Sun Protection
I know this goes without saying, but even on a cloudy day a child is exposed to the harmful rays of the sun. Use sunscreen regularly and more often if they are at a water park. Wear hats that protect their face and neck and any other appropriate clothing depending on the weather.
5. Small First Aid Kit
The smallest cut or scratch can ruin a park visit if you aren’t prepared. Have a small Ziploc bag with just a handful of essentials in it; band aids, antiseptic cream, gauze and perhaps tweezers. If you are far from home you may have to consider a few additional items. Here is a nice compact First Aid Kit from Amazon that is affordable and has all the essentials.
Keep your local government posted if you see any maintenance issues that may be dangerous or require repairs. Also, if you see any suspicious activity around your parks; strangers hanging out for extended periods of time or teenagers using your parks with disregard in the evenings, alert your local authorities.
These are just a few tips that will help ensure your park visits are safe and enjoyable.
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