With the Playground Hound
Many of Today’s Playground Magazine subscribers are familiar with SLYDE, the happy-go-lucky hound dog that regularly appears in the magazine’s ads and cartoons. What you may not be familiar with is the purpose of SLYDE The Playground “safety” Hound.
When the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission first issued the Handbook for Public Playground Safety, the playground industry and its affiliated organizations responded by getting involved in teaching and preaching the importance of the CSPC safety guidelines to those individuals involved in the design, manufacturing, sales, promotion, construction, and ownership of playgrounds. For the most part, the information was well received by playground manufacturer groups looking for creative ways to distinguish their products and services from homemade and unsafe products. They, in turn, guided sales representatives into having a greater understanding of these guidelines. From there, the importance of the CPSC guidelines, and later the ASTM standards, were funneled into the hands of owners during the course of purchasing new playground equipment.
Keep in mind that the first CPSC Handbook for Public Playground Safety was issued in 1981. It was not until the early nineties that the National Recreation and Park Association, in cooperation with a small group of playground safety educators and experts, created the National Playground Safety Institute, NPSI. The direct teaching of playground safety from the source, ASTM and CPSC documents to adults (or grown-ups, as SLYDE likes to say), involved in the design, manufacturing, sales, and ownership of playgrounds, had begun.
In the past decade, over 12,000 students have completed this course and have been awarded a certificate that certifies them to inspect playground equipment for common safety hazards. These Certified Playground Safety Inspector’s, CPSIs, represent several factions of the industry from design, manufacturing, and construction, to maintenance and supervision, all with a focus on educating adults to identify potential playground safety hazards.
The creators of the SLYDE program for playground safety awareness were keenly aware of the lack of playground safety information pertaining to a child’s role in playing and keeping safe at playgrounds. After all, a child’s safety is the primary goal of both the CPSC and ASTM, the primary course of study for NPSI.
SLYDE The Playground Hound, an independent playground safety awareness program, reaches out to the users of both public and backyard playgrounds. Issues like drawstrings on a jacket, dealing with bullies, “stranger danger,” adequate safety surfacing, looking for broken parts, and other issues that children should know and be aware of are now being addressed in a highly effective way.
As an independent playground safety program, SLYDE The Playground Hound reaches out to all children with concepts easily understood by children as young as two years of age. Because of his captivating nature, and relevance of his message, The SLYDE program is being taught in a variety of ways and even year after year up to children 10 years of age. The program includes a 120-page teacher curriculum for small groups, larger groups, and classroom use. Also included are story books, coloring books, board games, puzzles, stickers, and other educational aids. The program has expanded to include assemblies and guest appearances of SLYDE himself.
SLYDE has been the featured guest of the Weekly Reader program, he makes regular appearances on live national radio, and SLYDE has an interactive website for children. Much like Smokey the Bear, who teaches fire safety, and McGruff the Crime Dog, who teaches crime prevention, SLYDE The Playground Hound is a nationwide safety icon, teaching America’s children about playground safety and injury prevention.
The SLYDE safety awareness program can be beneficial to your organization in promoting playground safety to the children in your community. Start at the website, www.playgroundhound.com or www.slyde.com. There are a variety of games and activities that a group may access free of charge to begin teaching children their role in playing safe at the playground. Information about SLYDE appearances and playground hound products are also available. If you own or supervise a playground, it is your duty to provide safety information to the users of your equipment. SLYDE The Playground Hound offers these tools for building your community’s playground safety awareness program.