In 1997, the National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) founded the National Playground Safety Week to occur each April, giving the nation a time to yearly assess playground safety and express gratitude to those who are making playgrounds safer. State governors are encouraged to proclaim National Playground Safety Week each year. The number of states participating has grown from 2 to as many as 45. There were 30 states participating in 2010.1
Challenging people to become involved in playground safety, NPPS offers numerous suggestions to promote participation in the National Playground Safety Week:
- Send letters to state governors encouraging them to proclaim National Playground Safety Week
- Promote playground safety issues in the local news media
- Create and hang posters in schools and community areas outlining S.A.F.E. playground practices
- Complete playground equipment safety checks and evaluations
- Challenge schools to an injury-free week on the playground
- Design and distribute surveys to discover favorite and least favorite equipment as well as recurring playground problems and injuries
- Identify playgrounds with hard surface fall areas
- Make a maximum of five playground safety rules that children can easily remember2
Each year, two awards are presented to recognize excellence in playground safety. The John Preston Playground Safety Award is awarded to a group or organization that has made a difference in creating S.A.F.E. play areas for children. The 2010 winner is the Child Care Licensure of Mississippi. They require their licensure staff to complete either the National Playground Safety Institute (NPSI) Safety Course or the NPPS Inspector’s course. The Child Care Licensure staff licenses a total of 1,739 child care facilities, which includes 208 Head Start Centers.3
The Ahren’s Advocate of the Year Award is given to an individual for their contribution to playground safety. The 2010 winner is Patti Mehrens, Chief of the Child Development and Family Child Care Branch of the Air Force Services Agency and Family Member Program Division. She made sure that many Air Force individuals associated with child care completed training through the NPPS playground safety school, inspector’s course for child care, and the supervision course for child care. She also had NPPS assess 65 playgrounds for safety issues.4
- 1. “Playground Safety Week – Proclamations.” National Program for Playground Safety. < http://www.playgroundsafety.org/safetyweek/proclamations/index.htm > 2 Feb 2011.
- 2. “Playground Safety Week.” National Program for Playground Safety. < http://playgroundsafety.org/safetyweek/index.htm > 2 Feb 2011.
- 3. “National Playground Safety Week – John Preston Playground Safety Award Winners.” National Program for Playground Safety. < http://www.playgroundsafety.org/safetyweek/awards/johnPreston/2010.htm > 2 Feb 2011.
- 4. “National Playground Safety Week – Ahrens Advocate of the Year Award Winners.” National Program for Playground Safety. < http://www.playgroundsafety.org/safetyweek/awards/Ahrens/index.htm > 2 Feb 2011.