Chapter 11 Promoting Children’s Safety
Copyright Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Staff members have several duties when it
comes to playground safety. First, they must be
sure to plan the play yard with safety in mind.
For example, proper surfacing is a key safety
concern (Figure 11.3).
Second, staff members must select safe play
yard equipment. Safer equipment eliminates
many preventable accidents. Many products
are available today to help children enjoy safe
Third, staff must evaluate existing equipment
for safety. Older equipment may not meet current
safety standards. This equipment often contains
hazards not found on newer equipment. These
hazards include head entrapments, sharp edges,
hard swing seats, and all-metal slides. Staff
should research laws on play yard equipment
safety. They must be sure their program complies
with these requirements. Next, staff can seek tips
from professional organizations regarding play
yard safety. These tips can offer extra protection
by exceeding legal requirements.
The National Program for Playground Safety
estimates that 30% of all injuries are due to poor
maintenance. As equipment ages, it is likely
to need upkeep and repair. For this reason, all
play yard equipment must be checked often
for dangers. Many programs devise a safety
checklist to guide teachers in inspecting the
play yard. Teachers conduct weekly checks, fi ll
out the checklist, and give it to the director. The
director must then arrange for needed repairs or
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, staff
are responsible for supervising children on the
play yard. Even the safest equipment can cause
accidents when it is not used properly. Limits
must be set and enforced regarding equipment
use. Children can be involved in setting these
limits, if developmentally appropriate. Teachers
must closely watch children using the equipment
and step in when needed. Staff should praise
children who are practicing safety.
Motor vehicle accidents pose the greatest
threats to children’s lives. Vans, buses, and
other vehicles owned by the center should have
safety door locks and safety restraints installed
according to manufacturers’ specifi cations.
• All children should ride in the backseat of
a car until at least through age 12.
• Children up to age 3 should ride in a rear-
facing car seat until they reach the seat’s
height or weight limits.
• Children age 4–7 should ride in a forward-
facing car seat with a harness until they
reach the seat’s height or weight limits.
• Children age 8–12 who have outgrown
car seats need a booster seat, lap belt, and
• Check with the National Highway
Traffi c Safety Administration website for
individual state laws.
Train all staff and parent volunteers on the
proper use of safety seats. While riding in any
center vehicles, children should be fastened in
a properly adjusted seat belt or safety seat. Do
not allow children to put their arms or heads
out of the vehicle’s windows. When a number
of children are riding in a vehicle, extra adult
supervision may be required.
Figure 11.3 An impact-absorbing surface was
installed under this playground equipment to prevent
serious injuries related to falls.