Play is one of the most important elements of well-being, especially for children. As such, playgrounds serve a critical function: allowing children to move, explore, create, and interact with their environment and others while having fun.
But playgrounds, no matter how important they may be, can be very dangerous. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that every year, more than 200,000 children under the age of 15 are treated in emergency departments for playground-related injuries.
Keeping your child away from the playground is not the best option for preventing injuries, but there are a handful of things that you can do to reduce the chance of injury. Consider these common playground injuries, tips for preventing injuries and keeping children safe, and what to do if an injury occurs.
Most Common Playground Injuries
Kids often get hurt on the playground, especially when playing rough. Some of the most common types of playground injuries include:
- Cuts, bruises, and scrapes;
- Bone fractures;
- Head and traumatic brain injuries;
- Blisters and splinters;
- Internal injuries;
- Dislocation injuries; and
- Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains.
The same data source cited above, published by the CDC, states that nearly half of all reported playground injuries are internal injuries, concussions, amputations, severe fractures, and dislocations.
Causes of Playground Injuries
Some playground injuries are inevitable; when kids play and explore, they often slip, trip, fall, run into people or objects, or suffer bumps and bruises. A study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), while dated, provides insight into the most common causes of playground injuries: falls. This claim is backed up by another source, which states that 70 percent of playground equipment-related injuries involve falls to the surface, and about 10 percent involve falls onto equipment. In addition to falls (which are caused by slipping, climbing onto unstable surfaces, and more), other causes of injuries include running, playing too hard or aggressively with other children, defective playground equipment, clothing getting caught on equipment, and using playground equipment that is not age-appropriate.
What You Can Do To Reduce the Risk of a Playground Injury
Luckily, keeping children safe is possible, and there are things that you can do to reduce the risk of your child experiencing a playground injury. Things to do include:
- Pay attention to your child’s clothing. Loose clothing, and clothing that has drawstrings or other hanging elements, can be dangerous on the playground, as parts of clothing can get caught on equipment.
- Supervise your child. Another way to prevent injuries is simply to supervise your child as they play. While children love to climb and explore, pay attention to how high your child is going, stand under them while they use the monkey bars if they aren’t confident in their abilities, and take action if they climb on areas that are not meant to be explored (i.e. the tops of slides).
- Choose an appropriate playground for your child. Some playgrounds are designed for older kids with greater abilities to climb, hang, jump, etc. Depending upon your child’s age, you may search for a playground that caters to your child’s ability levels, and that has children of the same size. In addition to this, pay attention to the ground at the playground – is it soft in the event that your child falls, or are concrete or rocks present?
- Act if you notice something amiss. Playgrounds aren’t always safe. Sometimes they are designed with defective equipment, or are poorly maintained, making it dangerous for use by children. Pay attentionto the quality of playground equipment. If you think that something is unsafe, report it.
What To Do if Your Child Is Injured on a Connecticut Playground
The thought of your child being seriously injured while playing is unnerving, but it does happen. If your child suffers harm because of unsafe playground equipment, the experienced injury attorneys at The APEX Law Firm can help you. Contact us today for your free consultation in Hartford County at (860) 900-0900.