Defending Against Disaster

7. Be certain adequate staff is scheduled. If your playground does not have supervisors on duty, that information needs to be displayed on signs. If you do provide adult supervisors, the times they are present should be posted. Supervisors should be trained and scheduled in a way that offers a safe environment for children. For example, if five staff members are scheduled to work but only three members are present, portions of the playground should be closed until the proper staff-to-user ratio is reached. Also, staff should be trained to continually move around on the playground so areas are never out of sight and unsupervised.

Accidents can happen in an instant. Protect the children who use your playground, and fulfill the expectations of their parents and caregivers through daily evaluations of its safety. Train staff to value safety and equip them to maintain that level. Don’t let the agony of an injured child happen at your facility.

Maile Armstrong is a former camp director, and now operates Armstrong Unlimited in Montvale,Va., providing services for camps and youth programs. She specializes in staff training workshops, first aid and CPR, program development and risk-management as well as sales and placement of AEDs.

Nancy Ferguson is a church-camp professional living on the eastern shore of Virginia near ChincoteagueIsland. She creates resources for camp leaders and staff. She is the author of six books and a frequent workshop leader at camp conferences. Visit her Web site at: www.BlueTreeResources.org.

For More Information On Playground Safety

· National Program for Playground Safety based at the University of Iowa: http://www.uni.edu/playground/

· Consumer Product Safety Commission: www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/327/htmlA· Virginia Department of Health: (Or visit your local government page.) Playground Safety Handbook is downloadable from its Web site.www.vahealth.org/civp

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