Children love to play outdoor! So, bumps, bruises, and scrapes are bound to happen, no matter how safe your kids’ play area is. However, as a responsible child care provider you should take certain safety measures to keep children safe during outdoor activities. Following are the few tips to ensure outdoor safety in child care.

Why is Outdoor Safety Important?

Outdoor play helps in physical and mental development of kids. Children learn several lessons, which otherwise is not learnt during indoor games. But play in safe outdoor environment is important as it promotes good health and reduces the risk of injury to children and staff.

Basic Outdoor Safety Tips in Child Care

  • Supervise children when they are playing outside
  • Teach children to inform the teacher immediately in case of any injury (to them or any other child in the setting)
  • Ask them not to leave the child care center area/boundary; explain them the dangers of playing outside the boundary (on the streets)
  • Inspect the outdoor play area routinely. Remove tools, trash or sharp branches to ensure kid’s safety
  • Teach kids not to try playing with outdoor play equipment/riding toys that are inappropriate/unsafe for their age; explain them which toys or equipment are meant for them. Your child care must have age-appropriate toys

    Child Care Safety Tips for Preschoolers
    Child Care Safety Tips for Preschoolers

Safe and Secure Outdoor Play Area

  • Keep the main gate locked using childproof latches
  • Lock garages, barns and other unwanted spaces
  • Remove sharp play equipments
  • Surround electrical appliances or objects with fences
  • Fence boundaries, well, pool, open parking spaces or railroad tracks properly
  • Encourage children to wear safety helmets when riding tricycles, bicycles, skateboards etc.
  • Use safety straps to protect children in strollers
  • Teach them not to wear helmets when playing on playground equipment

Playground Safety Measures

Keeping the playground safe for children requires proper planning. Child care centers have kids of all age groups – infants, pre-school age, school-age etc. Each of these age group children have different growth and developmental needs. Some may need just playground equipments while others may need skateboards. Therefore, it is important to divide the areas into zones using fences ensuring the playground is safe and fun for every child. Here are some tips to ensure complete safety:

  • Routinely check the playground area and playground equipments for broken or missing parts. If you find any, immediately discard or replace it
  • Ensure your play area is properly shaded either by trees or tent
  • Cover sandboxes when not in use
  • Ensure you don’t attach any rope of cord to play equipments
  • Educate children to stay away from the front and back of the swing area
  • Make sure your outdoor play equipments are at least 6 feet away from the trees walkways, fences, buildings
  • Park metal equipments or play materials in shade to avoid it getting hot and causing burns to children
  • Ensure there are guardrails or barriers for platforms or ramps over 30 inches high
  • Close S-hooks completely on swings

Children, especially toddlers are curious, they want everything they see. In this process they make fall several times. While you can’t stop kids everytime, you surely can create a safe play environment by ensuring all equipment has soft surfacing beneath it.  Things like rubber mulch, sand and pea gravel are good enough to absorb falls.

The above basic outdoor safety tips for children should be followed by child care providers to prevent falls and injuries thereby creating a healthy play environment.

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