Actions in the recent past to improve playground safety have been paying off. A report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in 2009 indicated that the rate of serious playground injury had declined by more than 10 percent since 2001. While overall injuries are down, however, more than 200,000 children are still injured on playground equipment each year. New data show that one particular category of injury has demonstrated a notable increase.
Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI) have been on the rise among small children injured on playground equipment. As recently as 2009, TBI accounted for only about 2 percent of all playground-related emergency room visits. A new analysis released this spring, however, reports that concussions may now account for around 10 percent of all playground injuries (and some suspect this number is still underreported). In response, the CDC has added specific information about playground concussion safety to its existing HEADS UP program, which was launched to reduce the number and severity of traumatic brain injuries that occur in youth sports and activities.
Officials in Salt Lake County have made sure that all play areas under their control—nearly ninety public parks—meet CPSC standards. That’s a great step for public safety, but parents shouldn’t be complacent. While the majority of serious playground equipment injuries occur at schools, parks, or childcare centers, there’s one dark detail in the safety data that should put all parents on alert: Around 70 percent of playground equipment deaths happen on home playground equipment. Most of those deaths are caused by strangulations or falls. Parents might feel safer when their children are playing nearby—in their own yard or at a neighbor’s—but it’s important for a responsible adult to keep an eye on the little ones.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is one of many organizations that takes the safety of children, including on playgrounds, seriously. Their child safety website includes many recommendations for creating and maintaining safe play environments. Many of the recommendations might seem to be simple common sense, such as making sure that climbing structures include fall-prevention barriers, or that any wooden equipment is free from rough surfaces and splinters. But the recommendations also cover many hard-learned lessons that might not be obvious to parents and others who haven’t directly experienced playground injuries. For example, plastic slides are preferred over metal ones because they don’t heat up as fast, and all climbing rungs and rings should be sized for small hands in order to reduce the chance of slips and falls. Parents and others who supervise children should be aware of these recommendations and make sure their play areas follow them.
At Craig Swapp & Associates, we take safety seriously. Every personal injury case is unique, and our attorneys understand the complex nature of brain injury claims. If your child has suffered a traumatic brain injury and it can be attributed to the negligence or reckless actions of another party, you owe it to yourself—and to your child—to pursue legal action. You may be entitled to collect damages to cover the cost of past and future medical treatment and other expenses.
Give us call at 1-800-404-9000 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation to discuss the details of your case. For an immediate response to your questions, you can also use the LiveChat application from any page of our website.