Nothing lights up a child’s face quite like a trip to the park. Between the fresh air, exciting equipment, and being around other kids her own age, getting out to the playground is an outdoor adventure Baby and countless kids like her love.
She is faster on her feet than she has ever been before, but before you let her go off to explore, there are a few safety rules that can help ensure that your trip to the park stays injury- and worry-free. Once Baby learns the rules and expectations, the playground will become a more fun, relaxing environment for you both.
At this age, it’s important to keep your eyes on Baby at all times, whether you’re right there beside her, pushing her on the swing, or she is exploring in the dirt on her own. Parks are crowded, and it’s easy for someone small to get lost in a big space. Stay within arm’s reach and watch out for any hidden dangers, such as sharp objects or poisonous plants, which could make for a bad end to a good outing.
Appropriate equipment use
Playgrounds often have signs at the entrance noting the age range the structure was designed to be used by, but ultimately, it’s your judgment that’s the deciding factor in terms of what equipment Baby will use. Swings designed for Baby’s age group generally have straps because falling off of a swing could cause a serious injury, so it’s important to take a moment to check out how this particular playground’s swings are set up.
Before using any equipment, do a quick inspection to ensure there are no broken or damaged areas that would pose a safety risk. If all of the equipment looks like it’s in working order, it’s up to you to show Baby how to use it for its intended purpose. For example, sliding down instead of crawling up a slide. Both probably sound pretty fun to Baby, and she might not know yet that sliding down is how most children use slides, and that, because of that, crawling up could lead to a traffic jam or even a collision.
Mind the weather
Warm, sunny days are great playground days, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few weather concerns to keep in mind even on the nicest of days. Pack sunblock, sunglasses, and a hat will help protect Baby from strong ultraviolet rays while outdoors, and packing (and drinking!) a lot of water can help ward off the dehydration that can come after a day of active play in the sun.
Playgrounds are a great place for children to meet new friends, discover new things, and develop their motor skills. While Baby may not love following safety rules right away, as long as you’re consistent with your expectations, it won’t take her long to realize following the rules is just a small sacrifice to make for such fun.