I am a supporter of a long stay in the fresh air and try to organize my work and daily duties in order to find time to walk around the area, which I strongly encourage you to do.
Both me and my children forget about everyday problems during our mini trips, we enjoy the beautiful weather and our mutual company. Sometimes these are the only moments during the whole day when I can devote my full attention only to children, so these are really precious moments.
Walking with us has already become a ritual, sometimes we take a bicycle, sometimes a stroller, but usually a longer sitting in place ends with numb booty, nervousness and you need to stretch your bones. Where do we go then? Most often at a nearby playground of course. There is probably no child in the world who will not light his eyes when he sees colorful swings or slides. Even the youngest kids appreciate the possibility of burying with a stick in the sandbox, or the light swinging of a colorful swing at a nearby playground.
It seems to us that since these places are specially separated and intended for children, they are safe, so we calmly relax on a bench immersed in the rays of the spring sun, while our child is carefree playing. Unfortunately, not every playground is a place worth visiting, not everyone, even the most beautiful and largest is safe for children.
There are strict rules and standards in Poland that clearly specify what equipment can be approved for use in playgrounds, how they should be maintained and secured, but we must admit that a large part of them still remember our childhood, and many a playground , although a few years ago he was the cry of the latest trends, today he is falling into disrepair, because the next winter has already hit him badly ... The truth is that playgrounds, although fenced, hardly protect against entry of a dog or a cat, or worse their owners and by their thoughtlessness cease to be a safe place for children.
Let's try to create a list of threats that are waiting for our children in places such as nearby playgrounds:
- Equipment and toys without appropriate approvals can pose a real threat to children using them.
- Bad technical condition of equipment and toys - lack of regular inspection and maintenance, material fatigue and damage.
- Inadequate vegetation on the playground - low trees will tempt you to climb on them, prickly shrubs, poisonous decorative plants - they look beautiful, but pose a significant risk of serious injury or poisoning.
- Unsuitable surface - children often fall, stumble during play and if the ground is hard (concrete, pavement blocks), maybe enough for serious cuts or other injuries, e.g. when falling from a swing.
- Lack of proper hygiene - even a fence will not help if the entrance is not closed. Stray dogs or cats that take care of their needs in the sandbox is a huge problem - so far there have been cases of poisoning with e-coli, echinococcosis, toxoplasmosis and other zoonoses. Remember that the playground manager is obliged to change sand before and during the season at least once. Although this will not make the sandbox completely clean, it will significantly reduce the risk of contamination.
- Inappropriate neighborhood - if, for example, pigeons are fed in the vicinity of the playground, there is a risk of infection with diseases transmitted by birds.
- Lack of public awareness - I don't know what's worse: stray dogs and cats, or their owners, who enter the playground with their pets and allow to arrange their needs near them.
- People are also a problem, often young people, who spends time at playgrounds in the evenings, drinking alcohol and other beverages, and smoking cigarettes, ignoring the bans. Unfortunately, such meetings usually end with leaving broken glass, cigarette butts and other trash in the sand and not only there.
- Insect bites - we don't have much influence on this threat, but by going to a place where tall grass, bushes and other vegetation grow, we will protect the child with a preparation against ticks - spring is the time of their increased activity.
- Too much sunshine - playgrounds should be in a slightly shady place and although in the spring the sun's rays are not as aggressive yet, on hot summer days they can be really dangerous.
- Bench for carers located in a place where it is impossible to observe the whole area of the playground - it is important to have a playing child in sight. If necessary, we are able to react in time.
- No waste bins and people responsible for maintaining cleanliness on the playground - left behind trash always tempt small children the most, just picking them up creates a potential threat, and a moment of inattention and such trash will most likely end up in the baby's mouth.
Here are the statements of several friendly mothers about their experiences at playgrounds:
"My son is only 13 months old, but we are regulars in playgrounds. The little one swings on the swing, with my help he slides on the slide, runs after other children, but probably he likes the most ... looking for "treasures", i.e. trash ... He collects sticks, chips packaging, cigarettes, caps, pebbles. Playgrounds should be cleaned much more often ...
One of the playgrounds has a window view. I often see an elderly lady who enters his area with her two dogs, sits down on the bench and watches how the dogs play. I suspect that the animals don't stop playing. Once I drew her attention, but I met with a sharp reprimand. I heard that I am too young to draw her attention ... I do not go to this playground with my children, but can I be sure that it is not the same for others?
A few years ago, they built a beautiful playground at our estate. Unfortunately, not much remains of it to this day. The youth hanging out in the evenings destroyed a lot, and due to the lack of any renovations, the glory years have passed. It is a pity, because it was a place worth recommending.
A playground is a place of joy, great fun, a place where a child develops imagination, creativity and in the end it is the place of first meetings with peers. Despite such a long list of threats, we should not take children from this great fun. Let's not fool ourselves, minor accidents happen - scratches or abrasions are a constant part of the fun, but let's be alert, because playgrounds can not pose any additional threats and should generally be a safe and child-friendly place.