While it would be nice to think of playgrounds as a safe haven where kids can have fun, this isn’t always the case. Unfortunately, each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 156,00 children end up getting hurt in playground accidents. Our child injury lawyers are familiar with these incidents and the harm they can cause.
Common causes of playground accidents:
• Defective or unsafe playground equipment
• Inadequate supervision
• Clothes getting entangled or entrapment on playground equipment (leading to strangulation)
• Fall accidents
• Slide accidents
While some playground accidents may just be a result of kids just being kids and falling, slipping, or tripping the way children do, there are ways to keep them from getting seriously hurt when such incidents do happen. It is also important that the playground is properly constructed for safety. But first, our playground injury law firm would like to go into greater detail about the causes of some of these accidents:
Falls: most injuries involving playground equipment also involve falls. A child may end up dropping to the ground while hanging onto bars, riding in swings, climbing a jungle gym or standing at the top of the slide. Any type of fall can be painful and cause injury, but landing on a concrete surface (or one made of sharp wood chips) or having one’s clothing end up catching onto part of the equipment can exacerbate the situation for the child.
Accidents on slides: Parents may be surprised to hear that even though they think that placing a child on an adult’s lap so the two of them can go down together is a way to keep a kid safe, there is actually a causal connection between this type of tandem activity and children sustaining shinbone fractures. With two people going down a slide at the same time, the child’s legs can get stuck, even as both bodies proceed to keep moving.
Inadequate Supervision: Young kids generally need supervision and while playing on a playground is no exception. Most children don’t know their own limitations and can easily turn daredevils when faced with so much equipment to climb on, slide down, somersault over, or hang from. Properly supervising kids on a playground also protects them from ill-intentioned adults and others that may be scouting the premises.
Well-Designed Playgrounds Allow for Safe Play
Just as it is important for kids and their parents and guardians to practice safety on a playground, it is also essential that the equipment and playground surface are designed for safety. For example, playground surfaces made of softer material (chips, sand, shredded tires, or wood mulch) can cushion a fall, decreasing the chances of a traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury that might happen if a child were to hit concrete or asphalt instead.
The playground’s design is also essential to safe play. You want to make sure that equipment are properly spaced so that there is room for kids to run, walk, dodge, swing, climb, slide, catch, pull, and push. There should be areas where smaller kids can play away from the older ones, and where quieter play, such as kids building sandcastles, can occur away from games of tag and softball. Also, the view of the playground should be free from obstructions so that parents, guardians, and babysitters can keep an eye on their charges.
Last, but not least, all equipment should be in safe, working condition, and regularly maintained and inspected so that any damages can be repaired right away. Playground equipment manufacturers need to design their products as much for safety as for fun and include clear operating instructions and installation directions while warning of any potential risks or dangers.
National Program for Playground Safety
Playground Safety Publications