Kids’ outdoor playgrounds, including indoor tennis courts, have become a hit among parents and the public, but a growing number of parents say the facilities are not safe and that the courts have not been designed to meet their needs.
In a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers from the University of California, San Diego and Boston University looked at 4,500 kids’ indoor and outdoor playground facilities in 50 states.
They found that kids’ outdoor play was a significant predictor of their playing time, as well as their physical activity levels.
The research also found that outdoor play levels in the parks and other indoor spaces were higher than in playgrounds.
While some indoor playground facilities were rated as safe, some were not, the researchers wrote.
The researchers looked at indoor playground activities including playing with friends, sports, learning, and reading, among others.
“The results suggest that the risk of injury is greater when indoor play is at a higher level than outdoor play,” the researchers said in their report.
“This finding is particularly relevant because indoor playground use has been increasing in the U.S. since the mid-1990s.
In recent years, there has been a marked increase in playground activity in the United States, and indoor play has been shown to be a risk factor for childhood obesity and obesity-related health problems.”
The study found that in urban areas, outdoor play rates were higher and playtime was lower for boys than girls.
“While outdoor play has increased in urban centers, it is less frequent and more limited,” the study authors wrote.
“Overall, indoor play rates are lower than outdoor activity in most urban areas.
In urban areas that have more outdoor play opportunities, indoor activity rates are higher and children’s indoor play levels are lower.
Outdoor play levels also vary greatly among children, with most children engaging in indoor play in less than 1 percent of their days.”
They found similar results in other areas.
“Among children aged 2 to 4, outdoor activity is lower in urban versus rural settings.
These results suggest indoor play does not necessarily mean more indoor activity.
There is evidence that children are more active in their homes compared with at school,” the authors wrote, noting that indoor play was higher in schools.
The study also found children’s physical activity level was lower in indoor than outdoors playrooms.
The authors said indoor playrooms are “not necessarily designed to support their physical growth.”
“The finding that children who are more physically active and have greater outdoor play experiences are more likely to be overweight than those who are physically active but less physically active is consistent with findings from other studies, such as the Nurses Health Study,” they wrote.
One problem with outdoor play is that children get too little outdoor playtime, the study noted.
Children aged 2-4 who were regularly active had an average of only 5 hours per week of outdoor play, and about 30 minutes per day of indoor play, compared to the 10-20 minutes per hour recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for outdoor play.
“We also observed that children were less physically fit in the indoor than the outdoor playrooms,” the report noted.
The report also found parents were concerned about indoor play being too safe.
“Some parents are concerned that outdoor playground play could result in injuries or injury risks to children’s joints and bones,” the research authors wrote in their findings.
“However, many parents say that outdoor activities have become more safe and safer over the past few decades and that children’s play experiences have improved over time.”
The researchers found outdoor playroom facilities had been rated “safe,” “high-quality,” and “appropriate.”
The parks and outdoor play facilities were graded as follows: High quality, rated “good” for physical safety.
The parks’ outdoor playing areas were rated “high quality” for safety and activity levels, but they were not rated “excellent.”
“These ratings were based on data from studies that measured and documented injury rates in playground play, which is consistent in the literature with a high prevalence of injuries and chronic illness in outdoor play environments,” the investigators wrote.
Some indoor play facilities have been linked to other problems, including noise, lack of proper lighting, poor ventilation, and lack of adequate food and water.
The National Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals has said indoor playground playrooms should be equipped with appropriate safety equipment and that indoor playground equipment should be safe.
The association said that some outdoor play parks are not designed to provide adequate safety and sanitation for kids.
In 2016, a study by the U-M School of Public Health found that indoor outdoor play venues were the “most dangerous playgrounds in the country” for students and staff.
In addition, there are concerns about a lack of sanitation facilities for children and staff in the facilities, the report said.
“It is important to emphasize that these findings are not the findings of an epidemiological study or a systematic review,” the U of M report said, adding that “the results are based