Innocence Lost: When Play Dates Turn Tragically Wrong

 Most parents know that playdates are a great way to encourage your kids to socialize and make new friends. Additionally, sharing playdates with other parents gives you a much-needed afternoon off, not to mention great relationships with other parents. But what do you do when a playdate goes wrong? From injuries to criminal elements being near your little one, what’s the best way to protect your child while still letting them enjoy their fun?

Steps To Protecting Your Child on a Playdate

A Charleston, SC personal injury attorney recommends doing your homework before you entrust the care or supervision of your child to someone else. Even if you have friendly relations with them, their parenting style might not be the same as yours. What may seem acceptable to you might be taboo for them.

1) Get to know the other parents.

This may seem like an obvious idea, but many parents fail to get to know the people who are going to be watching their children for the next few hours. Try meeting with the parents beforehand by hosting a playdate at your house, or offer to stay and help with their playdate. Getting to know other parents will help you to see that their home is safe and they are able to handle a large group of children.

2) Find out who will be present at the playdate.

Other parents are one thing, but are any other family members going to be around? For example, if there are older children playing nearby, your younger children may get hurt trying to emulate them. Will any extended family members, such as uncles or grandparents be present? Do any of the adults know how to deal with an injury or perform CPR if needed?

3) Will the playdate be staying at home, or going out?

Make sure you know exactly where your child’s play group is going to be. Are they planning on staying in the backyard, or are there plans to go to a restaurant with a children’s play area? If they are going out, how many adults will be supervising?

4) Will they be serving food at the playdate?

Food allergies are on the rise in recent years, particularly among children. If your child has a food allergy, you should make the host aware of this. If you are particularly concerned, offer to bring snacks for the group that will be acceptable for your child to eat. Additionally, pack any medication your child needs, such as an epipen, should he or she accidentally ingest an allergen.

5) Perform a background check.

If you are truly concerned with regards to the adults who are hosting the playdate, there are websites online where you can perform a background check for criminal records. While this may not be an indicator of how someone will handle a group of children, it may give you some piece of mind.

Playdates should be a fun part of childhood, but it’s important to be safe. Following these important steps ensures not only your peace of mind, but also the safety of your child. By being vigilant as a parent, you can be sure both will happen.

Debbie Nguyen is a freelance designer and blogger. She knows from personal experience the heartache of having a child who was harmed at a playdate that started out seemingly innocent. Charleston, SC personal injury attorney Howell and Christmas, LLC works to right the wrongs done to innocent children.

Photo Credit: teen help