Playground Safety Walk About
Any environment, no matter how friendly ... can have its dangers.
Every year, over 200,000 young mates and sheilas looking for a little adventure on the playground, end up in emergency departments.
But you can help Kohl's, me walk-about buddy Max and me make playgrounds safe by keeping a keen eye open for signs of trouble.
First of all, let's get a feel for the area by carefully scouting the terrain.
Look there. Just the place to find the redheaded ankle-biter, or the freckle-faced dirt digger.
But is it safe? First of all, search the ground for signs of trash.... like broken glass, nails, sharp objects or rocks, or even the occasional misplaced boomerang. Blimey! That could be dangerous.
Keep an eye peeled for broken equipment, loose nuts or bolts, or missing parts. Wood should have no splinters, large cracks or deterioration.
Are there barriers to block running into an area where you could be hit by a car, a truck, or a rampaging water buffalo??
When the sun is blazing, test for hot surfaces. Metal sittin' in the hot sun can cause serious burns!
And speaking of serious, open spaces between railings and ladder rungs should be too big, or too small to trap a small head. ‘Course if you have a head the size of mine, no worries.
Falls are a big cause of injuries, so equipment should have lots of loose fill material under it. And never, ever should equipment be on asphalt, cement, dirt, grass or rocks. Know what I mean, mate?
Now that we've scouted the environment, it's time to check our gear. Are we dressed for adventure?
Helmets are a must on a bicycle or with many sports, but on playgrounds they can get caught between poles and peek holes.
Dangling strings are a real danger because they can get caught in equipment or a branch, and then tighten around a neck, cutting off air.
And since slipping can be a big problem.... slippery shoes or flip flops are bad for the adventurous, but if a bloke's wearing tennies with grips... No worries!
Of course, no adventurer worth his salt would brave the wilds without insect repellant...and if you're out and about in the sun for long, protection from the sun is a must!
Now, as anyone in the outback will tell ya', the most important part of staying safe is having someone to watch your back.... someone like a mum, a dad, or a teacher.
It's their job to watch for playground dangers that can come up in a split second. It's a job that requires your wits about you at all times, and can be handled best on the move, keeping a keen eye out for signs of trouble.
‘Course, all playgrounds are not created equal. Some are for bigger blokes like Max here; others are for smaller blokes, 5 and under. Lifting a bloke onto a piece of equipment not made for him is just plain foolhardy! If he can't get there on his own, he probably shouldn't be there.
Good play areas stretch the imagination. They're a place to have great adventures and share them with your mates. But getting along and cooperating with others is key, and waiting your turn is a good way to keep your skin, and your friends. Pushing and shoving-not allowed!
Hopping around like a red-necked wallaby- allowed, but pushin' or shovin'. No way.
And here's something really important....Always look out for those smaller than you. You're responsible for their safety, as well as your own.
Well, that's it for now. Max and I thank you for joining us, and thank Kohl's Department Store, and Children's Hospital & Medical Center for making it possible.
By recognizing dangers, and working together, we can make every place, a safer place for everyone.
Be safe, Mates!