Some gymnasiums and playgrounds may pose dangers to children. Now, a free service is available to help parents and teachers lobby for safer conditions. Last year, researchers and physical and health education students at the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB), department of human studies studied potential hazards at 52 school and community playgrounds. Based on their findings, they derived two checklists to help parents and teachers determine potential safety risks in their own communities and then request improvements. Hazards to look for include playgrounds built over concrete; broken or missing rungs on ladders; sun-exposed metal slides that could cause burns; and more.

“Our intent is to make the checklists available to anyone for free so that parents, teachers and others can advocate for safer playgrounds at PTA, PTO, school board or city council meetings,” stated UAB professor of health education Brian F. Geiger, EdD. The checklists are available at www.ed.uab.edu/cea/playground_gym_assessment.htm.