Get serious about playgrounds
It's playground time. The kids are ready, but is the playground?
Here are some safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Consumer Federation of America:
* What's underneath the equipment is more important than the equipment. Three-fourths of all playground injuries result from falls. So, be sure the playground surface is hardwood chips, wood mulch, pea gravel or sand, never cement or asphalt.
* Swing seats should have soft materials, such as rubber or canvas, and swings should be set apart from other equipment to prevent collisions.
* All raised surfaces, such as platforms or bridges, should have guardrails or other barriers to prevent falls. No elevated equipment, including sliding boards, should be more than 7 feet high for school-age children or 6 feet high for preschoolers.
* All equipment should be anchored adequately and in good condition, free of rust, chipped paint, splinters and sharp edges.
Men are big shoppers
Shopping is a family affair. No longer can it be attributed only to females, says Luther R. Gatling, president of New York's non-profit Budget and Credit Counseling Services. "What the typical woman spends on clothes, the man spends on cars and electronic toys," Gatling tells Glamour magazine. "It's an absolute myth that women are bigger spenders than men." Shopping is the number one recreation activity for both sexes, he adds.
* "Natural Reading: Helping Your Child Become a Reader." Dr. Joseph Suhorsky of Towson State University will speak at a free program next Tuesday, May 5, at 7 p.m. at the Essex Branch of the Baltimore County Library, 1110 Eastern Blvd. Child care available upon request. Phone 887-0295.
* Baltimore County cable television viewers will be able to see "First Steps," a series of videos especially for parents of young children, complete and in order during May and June. Two segments will be shown twice daily for a week. For instance, May 4 through 10, "The Importance of Reading to your Child" (10 a.m. and 5 p.m.) and "Selecting Appropriate Toys" (10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.) will be aired on Cable Channel 36, the educational station sponsored by Baltimore County Public Schools. The series, developed by Towson State University professor Frances Bond, will continue through June 28.
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