How to Prevent Playground Dental Injuries
You love watching your children explore as they play. They learn motor skills as they manoeuvre on playground equipment, and they build strength as they climb the monkey bars.
However, you also worry about your children’s safety.
Statistics estimate that hundreds of children have to visit the hospital after they injure themselves on playground equipment, and more than 6,000 children every year suffer injuries such as broken bones and open wounds.
While you shouldn’t lock your children away to keep them safe, you can take steps to reduce their risk of injury on the playground.
Play it Safe
Accidents happen for a variety of reasons, from faulty equipment to rough play. To keep incidents at bay, inspect the area, encourage your children to use the right equipment, and monitor their activities closely.
Inspect the Area
Before you let your children go wild, quickly assess the condition of the equipment and the surrounding park. Make sure the swings and climbing bars don’t have any rust, exposed nails, or loose plastic. And pick up any trash or broken glass lying nearby. If the playground relies heavily on metal, test the equipment with your hand to confirm it isn’t too hot to touch.
Choose Age-Appropriate Equipment
Many manufacturers build their swings and slides with specific age groups in mind. If you have small pre-school aged children, you’ll want them to play on equipment their size. Their playground should have smaller steps, lower platforms, and shorter slides. They shouldn’t climb on rope or chain ladders or slide on poles.
Supervise Your Child
If you have older children, you may feel comfortable letting them play on their own. But experts agree that most accidents happen when play lacks adequate supervision. Monitor your children at all times. If more than one adult or parent stands by, split up so you can view the playground from different perspectives.
Did Your Child Knock Out a Tooth?
Despite your best efforts to follow safety, your children may still suffer injury. For example, your daughter may knock out a tooth when she lets go of the flying fox too early. If you act quickly, you can still save the tooth and have a dentist repair the damage.
1. Remain Calm and Find the Tooth
Even if you feel panicked during an emergency, you should do your best to put on a positive face. Your children might not recognise the danger they are in, and they’ll be easier to treat when relaxed. Teeth replanted within 15 minutes have the best success staying functional, so find the missing tooth as quickly as you can. When you locate it, pick up the tooth by the crown (not the root).
2. Clean the Tooth
If the tooth fell on dirty concrete or bitumen, rinse it in milk for only a few seconds. If you don’t have immediate access to milk, rinse briefly in cold water or have your child suck gently on the tooth to clean it. Do not scrub the tooth or wrap it in a cloth or tissue.
3. Replant the Tooth
Once you’ve removed the dirt and debris from the tooth, replant it in its original socket. If you can’t push it in with your fingers, position the tooth above the socket and have your child close his or her mouth slowly and bite down. Have your child continue to hold the tooth in place by biting or pressing with his or her fingers.
Worried your child will swallow the tooth? Or does the root appear broken? Do not let the tooth dry out and do not store it in water. Instead, submerge it in milk or seal it in plastic wrap.
4. Seek Immediate Dental Care
Call your dentist to schedule an emergency appointment. Your dentist can then ensure that you positioned the tooth correctly and replant it if necessary. Depending on the injury, he or she may recommend additional treatment to prevent infection and care for the injured tooth.