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What Risks Parents Should Expect With Outdoor Play and How to Prepare for Them

Outdoor play is one of the most important aspects of a happy childhood. And the developmental and health advantages are countless. Nonetheless, it’s essential to understand that there are always risks to keep in mind. So, continue reading to know what risks parents should expect with outdoor play and how to prepare for them.

What Risks Parents Should Expect With Outdoor Play and How to Prepare for Them

Children Outdoor play

Injury

The first thing that comes to the mind of anxious parents whenever their kids play outside is physical injury. Children are pretty active and love to run wild, so they might trip over something or have one of those clumsy moments.

Injury is one of those things that are bound to happen a lot. However, you can minimize the frequency of injuries with your guidance. To elaborate, examine the location where your child will play, and if there’s a dangerous spot in sight, tell your child beforehand.

Also, you can prepare for injuries by always having a first-aid kit at hand. Moreover, it helps to have the phone numbers and locations of the closest emergency centers in case something goes wrong. If your child will play away from you, plan with them when, how, and who to ask for help.

Vehicles

Child injury from getting hit by cars or other vehicles isn’t uncommon. Children are naturally impulsive and easily distracted by multiple stimuli. So, when a lot of things happen at the same time, their brains take more time to process all the information. And sometimes, it’s the drivers that are distracted, which can put your child in more danger if they aren’t careful.

So, teach your kid not to cross the road unless they’re under the supervision of an adult. If they have to cross the road for any reason, they have to look both ways beforehand and pay attention to their surroundings; this isn’t the time to be on the phone or listen to music.

If your child will play near highways or any road, especially in areas that aren’t well-lit, dress them in bright, reflective clothing to ensure their visibility to the driver. Also, playing outside in the evening puts them at a higher risk. So, it’s better to schedule all their outside activities for the day.

Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers a child safety guide that’s simple and informative for kids.

The Elements

The “outside” means that your children will be exposed to things beyond your control. From dehydration, sunburns, and rain to bug bites and allergies, there’s a lot that your kid might need protection from at some point.

outdoor play Elements

Of course, you can’t control the weather, but you can protect your child by checking the weather before they go out and making them wear appropriate clothes. For example, waterproof clothing, shoes, and accessories are a must on a rainy day. As for cold days, they require proper clothing so that kids don’t catch a cold.

Furthermore, sunny days mean that you need to apply adequate sun protection, minimum SPF 15, on your kids to avoid sunburns; don’t forget to remind them to re-apply it every couple of hours. Plus, you can apply an insect repellent to prevent bug bites.

Also, always give them a water bottle to ensure that they never get dehydrated, and remind them to drink. Finally, don’t forget to be prepared when allergy season comes with allergy medications as well.

Stranger Danger

You leave your child to play at a playground. It’s all fun and games until every parent’s worst nightmare comes true: your child encounters the wrong type of strangers. It’s easy to tell your child never to talk to strangers, but they tend not to take it seriously until they’re left alone.

That’s why you’d be advised to help your child understand in detail what to do if a stranger approaches them. A simple “don’t talk to strangers” isn’t enough for your child to remember when they’re alone.

You can try to role-play different scenarios and teach them what to do in every situation. It’s also crucial for your child to know how to spot firefighters, police officers, security, and other adults they can trust. If it comes to it, they should know how to call 911. And you can give them a whistle so that they can attract people’s attention for extra protection.

If you need more help talking to your child about stranger danger and raising awareness about this topic, here’s a helpful guide.

Getting Lost

We all have those horrifying childhood memories, don’t we? Our parents or friends are right beside us one minute, and then they’re out of sight, and you don’t know where to find them.

To avoid this, try not to leave your child alone in unfamiliar environments. Of course, you’ll have to give your children some space at some point for their development, but it’s better to do it after they’ve already familiarized themselves with the place.

Also, don’t leave your child entirely alone; they should have an older sibling, a friend, or a group of friends with them to ensure that they’ll be found.

Playground Equipment

Playground equipment is all fun and all danger simultaneously. Slides, trampolines, swings, bikes, and treehouses are pretty attractive to children but can be bad news if children aren’t careful.

outdoor playground equipment

Talk to your child about the importance of being aware of their surroundings and their heights. For example, tell them not to stand too close to swings or use slippery equipment. They should also wear safety equipment when needed.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, children will be children. They want to have fun and run wild, and they can do it while being smart. If you do your job and educate them about minimizing the risks of all potential scenarios, everything will be okay. Now, go take your kids out!