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Posted by TP Toys on 1st September 2014
Where has the time gone, the children are almost back in their smart school shoes and ready for another academic year!
That means families all over the country will be trying to make the most of any time they have left - and any remaining warm weather - by taking youngsters out into the garden and allowing them plenty of playtime on their climbing frames, swings and slides.
Although this is fantastic because it improves their health, boosts coordination skills and encourages social interaction, it can also unfortunately result in bumps, scrapes and knocks as all that excited energy bubbles over.
It's an inevitable part of childhood and we wouldn't want to see kids wrapped up in cotton wool in order to prevent them - but at the same time, it's hugely important to take steps to prevent the more serious injuries that can occur in the garden.
By their very nature, children can be so absorbed in their activities that they don't see the potential dangers in their environment, so strike a balance; let them play, but make it as safe as possible to do so first. Here's our list of top garden play safety tips.
Climbing frames with towers and slides are great fun, but they can present a fall risk. Ensure little ones are supervised at all times - your hands will need to be ready to grab adventurous toddlers - and watch bigger children so they are following the safety rules. For example, enforce the instructions that nobody must climb up the slide or hang upside down from the bars - and tell them that anyone refusing to follow them comes off immediately.
When you're assembling bigger toys, always stick to the manufacturer's instructions and never be tempted to take shortcuts. Also, place climbing frames over soft ground like grass or deep bark chips, as falls onto hard surfaces can be deadly. Quality equipment is a boon here, as materials such as the wood used by TP Toys won't splinter and has been thoroughly tested for safety.
Swings will need to be placed somewhere really roomy so there is space to go both forwards and backwards without crashing into something. Again, only place them on soft ground in case of falls and always teach children not to walk in front of the frame - that swing arc is a lot bigger than it looks and a kick in the head can ruin a day's play or even cause a serious head injury.
In addition, no matter what kids might have seen on YouTube, never let them jump from the swing while it's in the air.
We've discussed safety relating to trampolines on these pages before and a lot of the risk can be reduced by buying quality models such as those from TP Toys - we always incorporate safety features including enclosure nets and padding covering the springs as standard.
However, a few extra suggestions include telling children they must always bounce in the middle, never leap from the trampoline and leave 'tricks' such as somersaults to the Olympians - these just aren't safe to do at home.
Elsewhere in the garden
It's worth taking a look at the garden away from the play equipment to make accidents and injuries less likely. Is your lawnmower in the shed? What about your clippers and other tools? If not, lock them away out of the reach of little hands.
Loose paving slabs and other uneven areas are also best addressing prior to playtime, as they're a trip hazard that small feet seem inextricably drawn to - and a fall onto stone is particularly nasty.
A final key thing to consider is water. Paddling pools are great fun if the sun comes out for a final fling, but remember that children can drown in less than 3cm of water - they must be under constant supervision when in or near any water and pools should be emptied when they're no longer being played with.
Remember The Four As: awareness; age appropriateness; assessment; and avoidance to reduce the likelihood of anything bad happening. Of course, some bruises and bumps are inevitable, but with this advice and some common sense, you hopefully won't have to spend any of your remaining summer sitting in the A&E department.