Playtime is an absolute necessity for children of all ages, encouraging mental, physical and social development. This is especially true for toddlers, who are constantly learning and developing from their experiences. Jungle gyms are a great source of entertainment for kids, and lucky for your little ones, playground equipment comes in all shapes and sizes.
Jungle gyms for toddlers are specifically designed with toddler safety in mind; playground equipment for big kids is too large for toddlers to play on safely, with heights too steep for them, and the risk of larger kids playing rough with them.
Even with play gyms for toddlers, it’s important to look out for your little one, for their safety and your peace of mind. Here’s how you can make sure the playground equipment for your toddler is safe to play on.
Scrutinize the Equipment
This should be the first and one of the most important steps. Not all jungle gyms for toddlers are created equal, and poorly made equipment can pose several risks during playtime. Small gaps just big enough to get stuck in, hair and finger traps, splinters and unstable equipment are all marks of bad jungle gyms. So take a look at the equipment your children will play on. Quality craftsmanship will present itself in smooth tumbled and varnished wooden beams, a stable structure, and embedded beams and screws/nails to avoid hair traps.
It’s also important to check the temperature of the equipment the kids play on. Toddlers have especially delicate skin, and can easily burn themselves on hot slides, monkey bars and poles. Especially if they’re made of metal. Plastic slides aren’t exempt from this either. So before letting your toddler play, check the heat of the equipment’s surfaces to ensure they’re not too hot to play on, especially if the jungle gym is out in the sun all day.
Similarly, make sure your little one has thorough covering on their skin to protect from friction burns. Their clothing should fit comfortably and should be worn correctly when on the slide.
Keeping a watchful eye on kids during playtime is a must, especially if it’s a public space and there are other kids around. Toddlers especially can be clumsy and gangly and are more likely to take a tumble or scrape a knee. Keeping an eye on them as they utilize the toddler play gym is just one way to avoid accidents.
You may wish to just park off while the little ones play, but playtime can also be a great bonding experience for you and your toddler. Helicopter parenting can be frowned upon, but joining your toddler at the jungle gym to talk to them and help them if need be can strengthen bonds and help teach them lessons, while also avoiding accidents. Actively involving yourself in their playtime also gives you the chance to teach them how to use the equipment correctly.
Teach them Playground Safety
Teaching children the importance of safety on and off the playground is an important part of parenting. While there are always going to be accidents and a few bumps and scrapes, you can avoid more serious injuries to your child and others by ingraining some playtime safety tips and best practices. Like no pushing/shoving while on the playground equipment, how to use a slide/equipment correctly, and being aware of your surroundings during playtime.
Safety is doubly important when it’s in a public place, and children, especially toddlers, should not be left unattended in a public place. Even when watching them, good rules to teach your children include not leaving with or talking to strangers, and not wandering too far from the jungle gyms.
Set rules and boundaries
Oftentimes play gyms for toddlers are set amongst a variety of playground equipment for children of all ages. Toddlers are naturally curious and inquisitive and will want to play with older kids and clamber on the larger equipment. Encourage your toddler to stick to the equipment designated to them, to avoid unfortunate accidents or run-ins with larger children. If the park is set near a pond or body of water, ensure that they know the water is off-limits to them.
Safety and Fun should come hand in hand
Remember that ultimately, accidents are bound to happen and that falling and scraping a knee is part of being a child. While for many parents the urge to protect our children can be incredibly strong, sheltering them from playing can do more harm than good. Keeping a watchful eye, setting rules, and ensuring the quality of play gyms for kids already goes a long way to ensuring playtime stays fun for everyone.
Our team at KidBuddie prides themselves on the quality of the jungle gyms and playground equipment we offer. We enforce the strictest quality control and best practices to ensure our playgrounds are as safe as they are fun to use. If you have any queries about our extensive range of equipment, we encourage you to get in touch with us.