245350 Assessing playground safety: A collaborative community outreach program

Monday, October 31, 2011

Rodney P. Joseph, MA , Department of Health Behavior, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, Birmingham, AL
Tanya J. Benitez, MSW , School of Public Health, Department of Health Behavior, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Brian F. Geiger, EdD, FAAHE , College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Department of Human Studies, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Casey Daniel, MPH , School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Background: Each year over 200,000 children are injured on playgrounds. Safe playgrounds at home, school, and in the community are essential to prevent these injuries and maintain the health of school-aged children.

Purpose: The purpose of this presentation is to detail a community outreach project designed to advocate and educate parents and caregivers on the importance of playground safety.

Methods: Doctoral students collaborated with a local community action agency and three of the agency's childcare centers to educate parents and caregivers how to assess the safety of public playgrounds. Project staff utilized a simple checklist to teach caregivers how to assess playground safety. Additionally, participants were provided with a list of community resources to contact in the event of finding safety hazards.

Results: Twenty-one parents, caregivers, and teachers participated in the assessments. Participants demonstrated the ability to use the checklist to evaluate playground safety. Before the assessment activity 27% reported previously assessing safety of a playground, 21% reported ability to identify safety issues, and 11% reported knowing how to assess playground safety. At completion of the project, 100% of participants reported knowing how to assess playground safety, ability to teach someone else how to assess, and committed to assessing a community playground before the end of the school year.

Conclusions: The checklist tool for assessing playground safety was successful in teaching and promoting playground safety in this community. Future directions include continuing playground safety awareness and education at these centers and expanding this project to other facilities in the area.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
At the end of this session, participants will be able to: Articulate the importance of playground safety Discuss ways to prevent playground injuries Identify playground hazards utilizing the simple playground safety assessment checklist

Keywords: Injury Prevention, Child Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I participate in community outreach research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.