Every year in the US, emergency rooms treat over 200,000 children for injuries sustained at the playground. Although the majority of playground injuries that are treated in the hospital are fractures and abrasions caused by falling off of playground equipment, the CDC has found that the type of clothing that children wear to play can also contribute to injuries, such as clothes with drawstrings. While kids generally prefer to be dressed comfortably while they’re playing, parents should also ensure that they’re dressed for safe play before heading out. Here’s a guide on what kids should wear to the playground to keep them safe and protected from common injuries.
Long pants and shirts with long sleeves
Even if it’s hot outside, parents should make sure that their children are dressed in long pants and shirts with long sleeves before they head to the playground. Being adequately covered means that your child is protected from too much sun exposure, mosquito bites, and scrapes. Choose pants that aren’t too loose or too tight, and keep in mind that pants that have a little bit of stretch, such as joggers or track pants, are better than those made of stiff fabric for unrestricted movement. Make sure that your child is wearing a shirt without hoods or drawstrings to prevent accidents while playing. To keep them cool and comfortable, opt for shirts that are made of a breathable fabric, such as combed or Pima cotton. These fabrics can keep your child cool on a hot day, as they’re light and airy and can wick away sweat.
Avoid open-toed shoes
Open-toed shoes such as flip flops or sandals should never be worn to the playground, as they don’t provide adequate protection for your little one's feet. Close-toed shoes, such as sneakers, are better for the playground, but if your child’s shoelaces have a tendency to come undone, tie them securely before they leave the house, or have them wear laceless sneakers instead. Make sure that they’re wearing socks to prevent blisters from forming on their feet, and remind them never to take their shoes off while they’re in the playground, as they could step on sharp rocks, glass shards, or other things that could puncture their feet.
Keep accessories to a minimum
Your child may love to pile on the bracelets and necklaces, but these accessories can get caught on playground equipment and cause abrasions or strangulation. If your child must wear jewelry or accessories, keep it to a minimum, such as a pair of stud earrings. Also, if your child has long hair, make sure that it’s tied up so that it doesn’t get caught on swing chains or other equipment. If they have bangs that get into their eyes, you can clip them back so that their vision won’t be impaired while playing, or let them wear a baseball hat or a beanie to secure their hair.
Comfort is key when dressing for the playground, but don’t forget to factor in safety while your kids are gearing up for playtime. Dress them appropriately for play, and don’t forget to check what they’re wearing before they head outdoors to ensure that they’re safe and protected.