We all grew up playing on them and as soon as our kids are old enough, we can’t wait for them to experience them, but a shocking amount of playground accidents occur every year. In 2012, more than 600,000 children were injured in a playground accident with more than 200,000 children treated in hospital emergency rooms for concussions, broken bones, amputations and dislocations. More than 70 percent of these accidents occurred on public playgrounds and most happened while using climbing equipment, slides and swings. Approximately 15 children die each year from their injuries, about half from strangulation and one-quarter from falling off of equipment. Most playground deaths occur on home-playgrounds.
Fifty-Five percent of playground injuries are sustained by girls and the majority of emergency room visits are from children ages 5 through 9. These injuries cost over $1 billion annually.
Low income neighborhoods seem to have playgrounds with more hazards such as rusty, old equipment and damaged fall surfaces.
Tips to Prevent a Playground Accident
- Remind children of safety rules before setting them free to play
- Do not run or stand in front of moving swings or teeter-totters
- One person on the slide at a time and slide down feet first on your bottom
- When you get to the bottom, move away from the slide right away
- Parental supervision is the key to safety. Children under the age of five should be watched at every moment and even those who are older should be watched most of the time to prevent injuries and make sure they do not injure the smaller kids.
- Avoid playgrounds with hard landing surfaces; there should be shock-absorbing materials on the ground such as rubber mats or loose fill such as double-shredded bark mulch, engineered wood fibers, shredded rubber, sand or pea gravel with a depth of six to twelve inches.
- Make sure that there’s enough space for kids to easily get off and away from slides and other equipment if the playground is busy.
- Don’t let children crowd near exits.
- Avoid metal or wood seated swing sets. Swing seats should be made of plastic or rubber.
- Choose an age/ability-appropriate playground or area within the playground. There is plenty of time for your little one to explore new things as they get older.
- Check the handgrips on climbing devices to make sure they are firmly in place and that they are the right size for your child’s hand.
- Avoid equipment with openings that could trap your child’s head.
- Do not go down a slide with a baby or toddler in your lap.
- Check for hot equipment on sunny days. Rubber, plastic or metal can heat up and cause a burn injury.
- Remove necklaces/jewelry and drawstrings and avoid loose fitting clothing that could get caught on playground equipment. Counter to popular belief, you should not put a helmet on your child as the straps could get caught and cause serious injury.
- Ensure children are wearing proper footwear. Bare feet or flip flops do not provide adequate support.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!