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Being a mother means walking a balancing act between giving your kids the freedom to be themselves and keeping them from getting hurt. Nowhere is this balancing act more obvious than on the playground. Playgrounds are where kids can make friends, get exercise and act out their imaginations. Yet they also can be places where they could just as easily get hurt if they’re not careful. Even though modern playgrounds have been designed and constructed with safety in mind, any environment that gives kids the opportunity to run, jump and swing around is bound to cause the occasional bump, scrape or fall. Nearly 200,000 kids visit an emergency room in the United States each year due to playground injuries. That’s not accounting for what might be millions of more injuries that only require a bandage and a kiss from Mommy.

When kids play on a playground, there are bound to be some bumps and bruises along the way. However, most playground injuries can be avoided — as long as parents keep a watchful eye on their kids and teach them the safest way to play. For example, parents need to avoid distractions such as scrolling through social media or talking on the phone while their kids are playing. Knowing which equipment is appropriate for the age of their children is another key step parents can take to help ensure their kids’ safety on the playground. By inspecting playgrounds beforehand — including looking for safety features such as shock-absorbing surfacing under equipment — parents also can make sure their children will be safer when on the playground.

Additionally, parents should teach their kids appropriate behavior when on a playground to help prevent injuries. This includes teaching children to take turns when using equipment; showing them which types of equipment are appropriate for their age or skill level; and teaching them to avoid using playground equipment on days with extreme weather.

No mother wants her child to get hurt doing something as innocent as playing on a playground. Though taking a few simple precautions can help you have the peace of mind needed to give your kids more independence. The following guide from Perfect Rubber Mulch details some of the most important ways to help you make sure your kids are safe on the playground.

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