Creative Outdoor Designs, Inc. is a Ballentine-based supplier of playground equipment and outdoor amenities. As a woman-owned business, Creative Outdoor has provided outdoor solutions for churches, schools, housing developments, parks and military installations throughout South Carolina and the world.
This week, Creative Outdoor is reminding parents and the larger community that age-appropriate playground equipment is vital for reducing injuries and keeping children safe on America’s playgrounds as part of the national observance of Playground Safety Week. Approximately 200,000 kids are injured on playgrounds each year in the U.S.
I recently spoke with Grace Keller, COD President about how parents can keep their kids safe from injury. "We all know that outdoor play has many benefits for children, including helping them to develop physically,emotionally, intellectually and socially.It’s important that parents recognize which areas of the playground are age-appropriate for their child so they can prevent injuries and ensure a positive outdoor play experience.”
The National Program for Playground Safety recommends that playgrounds should have separate play areas for different age groups: 6 months through 23 months, ages 2 to 5 and 5 to 12. According to Keller, these areas should be clearly marked with signage indicating which equipment is appropriate for each age group.
- For children ages 6 months through 23 months, play areas should allow children space to move and explore. Appropriate play areas for this group should provide places to crawl, stand, and walk.
- For children ages 2-5 years, play areas should offer areas with smaller steps and crawl spaces. Hands require smaller grips and bodies require appropriately placed railings on platforms. Suggested equipment for this age group might include low platforms with multiple access such as ramps and ladders, ramps with pieces attached for grasping, low tables for sand, water and manipulation of materials, flexible spring rockers, and shorter slides (usually no taller than four feet).
- For children ages 5- 12 years, developmentally appropriate play areas for school-age children could include rope or chain climbers on angles, a variety of climbing pieces and horizontal bars, pieces that promote cooperation such as tire swings, slides and sliding poles, and open spaces to run and play ball.
Keller says parents play a vital role in watching their children play and providing supervision as well as positive reinforcement for skills being developed by their children as they play.
"Whether they are improving their fine motor skills, meeting new people,
learning to share equipment or take turns, or exploring new spaces, outdoor
playtime is an important part of childhood and we want to make that experience
as rewarding as possible,” Keller added.
Keller and her team at Creative Outdoor Designs are all Certified Playground Safety Inspectors (CPSI), having completed the National Recreation and Park
Association’s qualification program to inspect playgrounds for safety issues and ensure that playgrounds meet the current national standards for safety, developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials and the Consumer
Product Safety Commission.
To learn more about playground safety, visit the National Playground Safety’s website – www.playgroundsafety.org.
Grace Keller will be leading a discussion tomorrow evening at 6:30 pm at St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church in Chapin on playground safety and design as part of the Sharing Our Gifts series. The church is located at 735 Old Lexington Highway.