One of the most enjoyable things you can do with your little toddler is take him to the park and hear his chortles of glee as he swings on the little baby swing or goes round the little merry go round etc.
There are many reasons why parks and playgrounds are a good idea for little children on a regular basis: it is good physical activity, excellent recreation for the little one, and a chance for him to get to know other kids of his age and make friends.
However, keep in mind the 4 Golden rules of playground safety devised by the National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) to reduce the danger of falls and injuries. Keep in mind the acronym S.A.F.E. which stands for:
S for Supervision: It goes without saying that a small child has to be supervised at the playground at all times by an adult. Children’s balance is still undeveloped; they lose their balance and fall easily. They are not able to gauge distances or perceive depths very accurately to begin with and could have unforeseen accidents.
S also stands for strings and ropes, which should not be present at the playground for very young children. Also take care that the clothes the child is wearing does not have the kind of belts or strings that can trail and get caught up in the equipment. They can cause accidental entanglement and even strangulation.
A for Age appropriate: Whatever playground equipment that you use for your little baby should be age appropriate. It should be the right size, with the proper restraints and safety features.
Also the play area for very young children or toddlers should be separate from that of older children in terms of the kind of equipment. This also makes sense so there is no squabbling between the different age groups.
F is for falls: Babies are just learning to cope with the whole business of walking, running, and balancing etc., and with all the care in the world, parents would not be able to prevent all falls. Even at the playground some small falls may well nigh be impossible to prevent. This is why the area should be designed to cushion falls.
Rather than concrete, rocks, asphalt or packed dirt, the surface material should be hardwood fiber or mulch, sand, pea gravel or suitable synthetic material such as rubber mats etc.
E is for Equipment: The equipment should be safe, and properly anchored to the ground. It should meet safety standards in terms of raw materials used. Exposed footings, protruding bolts, S hooks or broken equipment should be things to watch out for.