When children see a playground, you would think there was a magnetic force pulling them to the area. Children are drawn to all types of playground equipment, and while their desire to play may be strong, a parent’s desire to keep them safe is even stronger. Parents are now becoming even more concerned as researchers have found a connection between playground accidents and a rise in traumatic brain injuries.
Many people associate concussions with sports injuries, but a recent study by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control proves that playing sports is not the only path to a head injury. From 2001-2013, the number jumped dramatically for children age 14 and under who went to the emergency room with traumatic brain injuries after a playground accident (concluding with close to 30,000 brain injuries in 2013). Furthermore, almost 59 percent of the traumatic brain injuries occurred in boys and over 50 percent of the injuries involved children from age five to nine.
Parents have become more aware of the chances of traumatic brain injuries, which may be one of the reasons the numbers involving playground injuries have increased. A fall or bump to the head that would have been considered a minor casualty of having fun is now taken more seriously as parents are having children examined to confirm there has been no serious injury or concussion.
The biggest culprits of playground accidents leading to brain injuries are monkey bars and swings, but parents and other caregivers should take these safety precautions before letting a child climb on any playground equipment:
- Inspect the ground and equipment for dangerous items including broken glass, nails & screws or peeled paint exposing rust.
- Make sure the equipment has been properly maintained with no cracked, loose or missing pieces that would cause the structure to be unsteady.
- Examine what type of surface is underneath the equipment, so if a child falls there is less of a chance of broken bones or head injuries. Softer materials with more shock absorption include sand, wood chips or mulch, and specialized rubber designed for playgrounds.
- Keep children on equipment suitable for their age group. While some young ones may be ambitious and want to attempt something more advanced, it is best to have them play in their own area to minimize injuries.
Most importantly, make sure children are supervised at all times while in a playground. Check with the staff at your child’s school, day care or summer camp to make sure there is adequate supervision. There is no question children love to play, climb, and explore, and a playground should be a safe place to do so. If your child has been injured in a playground accident it can be difficult for the entire family. Please call the experienced and compassionate attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C., to help get the compensation your child deserves.