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Now that my kids are back on the playground, what I should I inspect to make sure that everything is safe for them?

Winter is not only hard on our bodies, but also takes a toll on playground equipment. As children begin to move outdoors, check playground equipment for things like worn or rusted bolts, cracked plastic parts or exposed splinters of wood. Make sure that any moving parts have been properly lubricated. It is critical to install some sort of padding or landing zone beneath swings, slides or monkey bars. Ideally, shredded rubber is best, but woodchips, mulch or pea gravel can also serve as adequate padding for falls occurring beneath or around the equipment. Experts generally recommend a depth of at least six to nine inches of these substances in areas where children are likely to fall or hit the ground.