Playgrounds and outdoor play equipment offer kids fresh air, friends, and exercise. So it's important for parents to make sure that faulty equipment, improper surfaces, and careless behavior don't ruin the fun.
Each year, more than 200,000 kids are treated in hospital ERs for playground-related injuries. Many of these could have been prevented with the proper supervision.
You can make the playground entertaining and safe for your kids by checking equipment for potential hazards and following some simple safety guidelines.
And teaching kids how to play safely is important: If they know the rules of the playground, they're less likely to get hurt.
Adult supervision can help prevent injuries by making sure kids properly use playground equipment and don't engage in unsafe behavior around it. If an injury does occur, an adult can assist the child and administer any needed first aid right away.
Kids should always have adult supervision on the playground. Young kids (and sometimes older ones) can't always gauge distances properly and aren't capable of foreseeing dangerous situations by themselves. Older kids like to test their limits on the playground, so it's important for an adult to be there to keep them in check.
Before you visit a playground, check to make sure that play areas are designed to allow an adult to clearly see kids while they're playing on all the equipment.
It's not clear at what age kids begin to dream, but even toddlers may speak about having dreams - pleasant ones and scary ones. While almost every child has an occasional frightening or upsetting dream, nightmares seem to peak during the preschool years when fear of the dark is common. But older kids (and even adults) have occasional nightmares, too.
Nightmares aren't completely preventable, but parents can set the stage for a peaceful night's rest. That way, when nightmares do creep in, a little reassurance and comfort from you can quickly restore your child's peace of mind.
Helping kids conquer this common childhood fear also equips them to overcome other scary things that might arise down the road.
When Do Nightmares Happen?
Nightmares - like most dreams - occur during the stage of sleep when the brain is very active and sorting through experiences and new information for learning and memory. The vivid images the brain is processing can seem as real as the emotions they might trigger.
This part of sleep is known as the rapid eye movement or REM stage because the eyes are rapidly moving beneath closed eyelids. Nightmares tend to happen during the second half of a night's sleep, when REM intervals are longer.
When kids awaken from a nightmare, its images are still fresh and can seem real. So it's natural for them to feel afraid and upset and to call out to a parent for comfort.
By about preschool age, kids begin to understand that a nightmare is only a dream - and that what's happening isn't real and can't hurt them. But knowing that doesn't prevent them from feeling scared. Even older kids feel frightened when they awaken from a nightmare and may need your reassurance and comfort.
Even healthy kids get hurt and sick sometimes. In some cases, you
will know that you need to head straight to the emergency room (ER) at
the nearest hospital. In other cases, it's more difficult to determine
whether an injury or an illness needs the attention of a medical
professional or can be treated at home.
Different problems require different levels of care. And when your child needs some sort of medical help, you have many options:
- Handle the problem at home. Many minor injuries and
illnesses, including some cuts, certain types of rashes, coughs, colds,
scrapes, and bruises, can be handled with home care and
over-the-counter (OTC) treatments.
- Call your doctor. If you're unsure of the level of
medical care your child needs, your doctor - or a nurse who works in the
office - can help you decide what steps to take and how.
- Visit an urgent care center. An urgent care center
can be a good option for non-emergencies at night and on weekends when
your doctor may not be in the office. At these centers, you can usually
get things like X-rays, stitches, and care for minor injuries that
aren't life threatening yet require medical attention on the same day.
- Visit a hospital emergency room. An ER - also
called an emergency department (ED) - can handle a wide variety of
serious problems, such as severe bleeding, head trauma, seizures,
meningitis, breathing difficulties, dehydration, and serious bacterial
- Call 911 for an ambulance. Some situations are so
serious that you need the help of trained medical personnel on the way
to the hospital. These might include if your child: has been in a car
accident, has a head or neck injury, has ingested too much medication
and is now hard to rouse, or is not breathing or is turning blue. In
these cases, dial 911 for an ambulance.
As a parent, it can be hard to make these judgment calls. You don't
want to rush to the ER if it isn't really an emergency and can wait
until a doctor's appointment. On the other hand, you don't want to
hesitate to get medical attention if your child needs treatment right
away. As your kids grow - and inevitably incurs sicknesses and
calamities - you'll learn to trust yourself to decide when it's an
Remember that in cases when you know the problem is minor, it's best
to contact your child's doctor, go to an urgent care center, or handle
it at home. Sometimes, ERs can be crowded and it can take a long time
for minor problems to be treated.
When rain puts a damper on playing outside and cabin fever is
driving everyone bonkers, these quick play-and-pretend ideas will keep
kids occupied and happy for hours:
Put on a Show With Homemade Puppets
We've all created puppets out of cotton socks, paper bags, markers,
and a handful of buttons. But kids can get really creative with a cool
grab-bag of puppetry accessories that you gather and store in a special
Puppet Box. As you're cleaning the house or shopping at grocery, thrift,
or dollar stores, keep an eye out for fun adornments for homemade
Collect and buy: glitter, dried beans, sequins, tinsel, pipe
cleaners, string, ribbons, yarn, buttons and appliques, holiday
decorations, stickers, seashells, etc. (beware of small objects, though,
that could pose a choking hazard for small children).
Also keep your Puppet Box stocked with must-have items like glue,
scissors, washable markers, Popsicle sticks, and a needle and thread
(when sewing, supervise young kids or do sewing projects yourself).
Also, keep a few small cardboard boxes - folded and flattened for easy
storage - to cut out and color for nifty background scenes and props.
Build a Fort
Get out some old sheets, blankets, or comforters and drape them over
the living or dining room furniture. (Be extra careful around breakable
and valuable items.) Use ribbons from your sewing kit, or hair
scrunchies and hair ties to secure the bottoms of the fabrics to chairs
Have kids create a secret password that allows outsiders (e.g., Mom
and Dad, siblings) into the private hideaway. Give your kid a
battery-operated camping lantern, sleeping bags, camping-themed books,
and flashlights for that added outdoorsy appeal.
Create a Rainy-Day Dress-Up Chest
Keep an eye out for interesting old clothes items and accessories
around the house, on discount racks, and at dollar stores or thrift
shops. Stock up on scarves, funky hats (cowboy hats, sombreros, team
baseball caps, construction hard hats, etc.), costume jewelry, shoes
(adults' and kids'), shirts (oversized white shirts for doctors' lab
coats, Hawaiian shirts for a luau, etc.), dresses, skirts, and jackets.
Collect any piece of clothing or accessory that could lend itself to
Put the items in a sturdy plastic storage bin or cardboard box. Then
pull out the dress-up chest for plenty of imagination-powered
entertainment during rainy or super-snowy days.
Make Thank-You Gifts
Kids often like to thank their caregivers, grandparents, aunts and
uncles, teachers, babysitters, neighbors, and childcare workers. Bake a
few batches of cookies that your child can lovingly decorate and wrap
with colored plastic wrap and ribbons; or create thank-you cards on
regular old printer paper or construction paper. Add special glued-on
adornments like family photos, ribbons, glitter, and buttons (again,
beware of small objects that could pose choking hazards for babies and
Help improve kids' spelling and letter identification skills by letting
them type and print out their own messages in fancy fonts on the
computer. Instead of doing crafts just to get through the day, this
project will help kids feel like their time and efforts are being spent
on a greater purpose - giving to someone they care about.
The following clinics located at 1212 & 1215 Pleasant Street in Des Moines (Methodist Plazas 1 & 2) will be closed all day April 18, 2013, due to a storm-related power outage. Clinic personnel will contact patients to reschedule appointments as soon as systems are up and running.
*Update (1:20 p.m.) - all UnityPoint Clinic locations are now open and accepting patients.*
Blank Children's Clinic and Specialty Locations:
Gastroenterology Clinic, Pulmonology Clinic (and CF Clinic), General Pediatrics Clinic, Diagnostic Clinic, Infectious Disease Clinic, Nephrology Clinic, Neurology Clinic, Endocrinology Clinic (and Diabetes Center), Regional Child Protection Center, Infusion Center, Hematology/Oncology Clinic, Surgery Clinic, Developmental Clinic and Adolescent Clinic
**Psychiatry Clinic, Perinatal and Midwives Clinic are open.**
If you need urgent care, all Urgent Care Clinics are open. Click here
to find a location. All hospital services and emergency care at Iowa Methodist and Blank Children's are open.