Could one of the happiest places for your children to play be among the most dangerous? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “About 75% of nonfatal injuries related to playground equipment occur on public playgrounds. Most occur at schools and daycare centers”. More alarming is the rate of child injury between boys and girls. The CDC reports, “While all children who use playgrounds are at risk for injury, girls sustain injuries (55%) slightly more often than boys (45%).”
A study titled, A Comparison of New York City Playground Hazards in High- and Low–Income Areas, in New York City found that “Playgrounds in low-income areas had more maintenance-related hazards than playgrounds in high-income areas. For example, playgrounds in low-income areas had significantly more trash, rusty play equipment, and damaged fall surfaces.”
What Types of Child Injury Occur?
According to the website PlaygroundSafety.org, the top injuries reported occur on the following four pieces of playground equipment:
- Climbers- 23%
- Swings- 22%
- Overhead ladders- 9%
The most common injuries were:
- Fractures- 36%
- Contusions/Abrasions- 20%
- Lacerations- 17%
- Strains and Sprains- 12%
- Internal/ Organs- 5%
- Concussions- 2%
- Other- 3%
How to Prevent Child Injury:
Accidents are preventable. Since it is every adult’s responsibility to keep kids safe at parks, school playgrounds, and daycare center play areas, knowing safety procedures is important. Therefore, here are some tips that you’ll find useful in helping secure and protect children playing at playgrounds:
- Make sure there is an adult available willing to supervise the kids. Some of the most dangerous accidents happen when there are no grown-ups. Older children may dare younger children to do something potentially harmful and all kids tend to take greater risks when they know there isn’t an adult around to stop them. If you catch children doing dangerous things, ask them to stop immediately.
- Watch for items that could cause trips, slips, and falls. Be on the lookout for standing water, exposed tree roots, and tree stumps as well as loose and embedded rocks. Kids could injure themselves while running and playing. An exposed root or slippery surface can cause lacerations, bruises, broken bones, and concussions.
- Pick up glass, debris, and metal prior to letting the kids run loose. Avoid dangerous situations from taking place by keeping kids from scratching or cutting themselves.
- Safe surface areas contain wood chips, sand, pea gravel, mulch or shredded rubber. These items cushion falls and prevents kids from breaking bones. There needs to be enough material around equipment to protect children no matter what direction they run, jump or swing into.
- Check guardrails and ramps. Check for stability. Tape a sign up that warns others about potential dangers, so as to alert other parents of danger when approaching those play areas.
- Make sure equipment is in proper working order and nothing is rusted or broken. Keep children off of broken swings, slides, and merry-go-rounds.
If Your Child is Injured:
A little extra caution can help you prevent playground accidents, since it is every citizen’s duty to ensure that public parks are free from hidden dangers. Do your part to keep your neighborhood park and its equipment in excellent condition. Report any problems that you notice to city officials so they can get to work fixing it right away.
About the Author:
Joseph G. Macaluso is a personal injury lawyer practicing at the Bronx law firm of Macaluso & Fafinski, P.C. A graduate of Brooklyn Law School, Mr. Macaluso has been in private practice since 1990 with an exclusive focus on personal injury and medical malpractice. A member of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, he has served on the Legislative Committee of this organization and is also a member of the Bronx County Bar Association and has served on the Board of Directors of Bronx Legal Services.