Babies of all ages love the playground, even if they are not quite old enough to participate in all of the fun. The fresh air and endless stimulation can keep a baby occupied for hours. But there are a few things to keep in mind before bringing your little one in the middle of the playground action.
Babies under 2 months old should not be exposed to runny nosed, virus-carrying toddlers and school age children who frequent the playground. If infants this age are exposed to sick children and become ill themselves, they are at risk for developing serious infections. It’s best to keep your newborn at home, even if you have an older toddler with cabin fever. Instead, choose a walk around the block or play time in the backyard.
Choose your park or playground wisely—if the park has very little shade, wait until your baby is old enough to protect himself or herself adequately against the sun. Babies under 6 months of age are too young for sunscreen so should be kept out of direct sunlight entirely. For older babies, choose a shady spot out of the way of the crowd, spread out a blanket, and let them enjoy the sights.
Appropriateness of equipment
Even babies and toddlers can enjoy the playground, but be sure to keep them on age-appropriate equipment. Older children may run right over your little one if they play on the big slides and swings. The safest playgrounds have separate, clearly marked infant/toddler areas.
So what can your baby do on the playground? The small bucket swings are the perfect size for babies who are able to sit on their own, and the pint-sized climbing equipment and slides are low enough to the ground to keep your little one safe in case of a fall. Your baby may even love the sandbox, but be sure to remove any small toys that may become choking hazards.
Reviewed by Dr. Eva Benmeleh, September 2020
- Children under 2 months old should stay home, as they are too young for the playground.
- Unless your infant is old enough for sunscreen, try to keep him or her out of direct sunlight.
- Safest playgrounds have clearly marked areas for infants and toddlers.