Child Safety
• Risk Management. The systematic, planned prevention, and
reduction of accidents through selecting safe equipment, reducing
hazardous conditions, and providing information and supervision
that identifies potential hazards and how to avoid them.
– Level I (Limited hazards). Conditions likely to cause minor or nondisabling
– Level II (Moderate hazards). Conditions that are likely to cause serious
injury resulting in temporary disability.
– Level III (Extreme hazards). Conditions that are likely to cause permanent
disability or loss of life or body part.
• Some level of risk is essential for healthy play and development,
however, risk must be carefully managed and developmentally
appropriate. Children who are deprived of reasonable risk often
grow to be fearful, timid and brittle.
Types of Risk
Physical Risk. Exposed to challenges and hazards
Emotional Risk. Exposure to expressions of anger, trust, and fear
Intellectual Risk. Admitting errors or trying to outwit a peer
Financial Risk. Challenges associated with stock market, gambling,
overextending credit card debt
• Supervisory Risk. The decision that adults make when observing children
engaged in interaction (Intervention vs. Distant Observation)
• U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Agency of the U.S.
government which was organized to assist in evaluating the safety of play
resources and play areas.
• National Electronic Surveillance System (NEI). Federal agency that collects
injury data associated with 15,000 consumer products from hospital emergency
departments across the United States.
Examining Risk/Hazards in Public Places
• Child related injuries in grocery stores accounted for 16,000
injuries in 1996. (Two-thirds of which were treated in hospitals).
• Toddlers (1-3 years). Toddlers are extremely active and
exploratory. This makes them susceptable to injuries;
consequently, it is important to childproof environments.
Common accidents
– Walking or running into the path of cars
– Climbing through gates and fences to drown in pools
– Standing up in shopping carts or other wheeled devices and falling onto
concrete floors
– Latching themselves in refrigerators and car trucks
– Contact with hot surfaces
– Walking into the path of swings on playgrounds
Hazards in Public Places Continued
• Preschoolers/Early School-age (3-5 years/5-7 years). Greater control
over motor skills but still operating with limited logical reasoning.
Children during this stage are able to manouver into areas that were
once difficulty to enter.
• These children are highly influenced by peers and often engage in
risky behaviors through peer influence.
The Challenge of Play among Contemporary
Fragmented parenting
Latch-key living
Television addiction
Junk food
Neighborhood dangers
Limited community play areas
Elimination of recess/Reduction of physical education
All of these factors have contributed to reduced opportunities for motor and
cognitive skill development. Consequently, American children rank lowest
among developed countries on measures of physical fitness (Dennison et
al., 1988; Javernick, 1988; Ross & Gilbert, 1985).
According to Daisaku Ikeda (1979), children from industrialized nations (glass
children) grow up in such risk free environments that they lack toughness and
appropriate coordination to effectively manage developmentally appropriate
Guidelines/Standards for Safety
• American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). An
organization instrumental in determining national standards of
• Organizations and play areas that adhere to these standards
protect themselves from the consequences of litigation.
Soft Contained Play Equipment
• Typical areas consists of large plastic tubes for children’s
crawling, pools of plastic balls, climbing nets and slides.
By 1996, there were about 8,000 free play centers and 600
pay for play centers in the US.
• Properly supervised SCPE environments are safe
alternatives to traditional, outdoor playgrounds. However,
there are limited benefits regarding development.
Toddlers colliding with older children
Failure to supervise children
Failure to inspect and maintain the equipment
Slides exiting into ball pools resulting in collisions between
– Children falling onto children buried in ball pools
– Torn safety netting/dirty equipment/dirty floor surfacing
Playground Safety
• Every year in the US, almost a quarter million children are
taken to hospital emergency rooms for injuries on
playgrounds. Speculative reasons:
– Growing number of playgrounds at schools, child care centers,
and public parks
– Growing age of playgrounds at schools
– Neglected maintenance
– Absence of adult supervisors
– Declining fitness levels of children
Amusement Parks
• Incomplete CPSC data indicate that 7,000 to 8,000 people are injured on
amusement rides annually. Reports are misleading because the actual reports
come from the parks and there is incentives to underreport accidents.
• Water Safety
– In southern states, including California, Texas, and Arizona, drowning is the top
killer of young children.
– More than 600 children drown each year in US (2nd leading cause of death for
children under 5 years)
– In residential pools, about 300 drownings and 2,300 near-drownings occur each year
to children under 5 years