Kids love backyard slides. However, the very thing that gives kids a lot of glee may give parents a bit of concern. If you are considering a slide for your backyard, here are a few simple safety tips to keep in mind.
• It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt so use slides correctly by going feet first. The hurt potential goes way up when kids start going down the slide headfirst. The only safe way to go down a slide is feet first, sliding on your seat.
• Go down, not up. Slides are for sliding down, but kids love to maneuver up those slippery ramps, too. It is best to enforce the down-only rule. Even more dangerous is when one kid is trying to climb the ramp and another comes sliding down, which definitely won’t end well.
• Ensure that the slide is age-appropriate. There are quite a few different types of slides available and not all slides are right for all ages. Your two-year old may not quite be ready for the steep twisty slide. When you start planning to buy a slide, make sure your kids will be able to enjoy it without being afraid of it.
• Avoid purchasing metal slides. Not only do they not have any “give” if a child falls on it, the metal can become uncomfortably hot on sunny summer days. On very cold days, uncoated metal slides can actually freeze to a child’s skin, causing severe pain and skin damage. When choosing a slide, make sure you select a plastic slide.
• Make sure children take turns. The best way to stay safe when playing on a slide means only one kid at a time should go down it. It may seem like a lot of fun to form a human train down the slide, but it is rather risky. Teach the children to take turns, and the slide activity will stay the way it is supposed to be safe and fun.
• Watch out at the top, and get off at the bottom. Slides are a bit like crossing the street. The child needs to look before sliding. Encourage your child to make sure that the bottom of the slide is clear before sliding down. After the child gets to the bottom, they should move out of the way so the next one can go.
Kids just want to play, and not try to remember a list of rules and regulations about backyard slides. As a parent your main role is not rule enforcer, but playmate and observer. Supervision is the best form of safety.
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