Patients play safe at Red Cross

2020-02-25 06:00
The new safe-play environment for patients at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

The new safe-play environment for patients at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

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ChildSafe, an injury prevention unit based at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, in partnership with Woolworths, has provided a safe play environment for the young hospital patients.

“Playground falls are an important source of childhood injury, which cannot be ignored. Each year, the trauma unit treats an average of 465 children for injuries that occurred on the playground,” said Prof Sebastian van As, the head of the hospital’s trauma unit.

ChildSafe aims to prevent unintentional injuries such as burns, road traffic crashes, drowning and falls.

Yolande Baker, executive director of ChildSafe, said: “Lack of or improper supervision is associated with approximately 45% of playground-related injuries. Playgrounds are a great way for kids to get exercise and explore, and with active supervision and some basic safety tips, every day at the playground can be a walk in the park.”

The installation of the safe play environment is a result of the current upgrade of the hospital’s emergency centre through the Children’s Hospital Trust.

Building work began in April last year and will be delivered in two phases that run until 2021.

ChildSafe gives the following four playground safety tips:

. Actively supervise children on playgrounds. It won’t be hard – they’ll probably be calling for you to watch them climb, jump and swing.

. Take your kids to playgrounds with shock-absorbing surfaces such as rubber, synthetic turf, sand, pea gravel, wood chips or mulch. If your child falls, the landing will be more cushioned than on asphalt, concrete, grass or dirt.

. Dress appropriately for the playground. Remove necklaces, purses, scarves or clothing with drawstrings that can get caught on equipment and pose a strangulation hazard. Even helmets can be dangerous on a playground, so save those for bikes.

. Teach children that pushing, shoving or crowding while on the playground can be dangerous. Encourage the older kids to look out for the younger ones. Little kids play differently than big kids. It is important to have a separate play area for children under five.

V For more information about playground safety, call 021 685 5280 or visit www.childsafe.org.za.

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