Playground and Park Injuries: Equipment and Distractions

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What happens when a normal family outing to the park or city playground becomes a trip to the emergency room for the child? Children are injured all the time from accidents that occur on the playground and in city parks. Collisions between children, strangulation on play equipment like monkey bars, falling off a swing or moving play equipment, falling on the surface, and many more incidents like this occur frequently. That’s not the way to spend what could normally have been an otherwise enjoyable day for all.

Several years ago the Consumer Product Safety Commission implemented guidelines for playgrounds. One of the most important features of these guidelines states that playgrounds must be covered with a material that will absorb falls better than asphalt or concrete. Playground equipment must be inspected and replaced if it is outdated, rusty, old, wooden, or could otherwise cause injury due to its prolonged use. But, not every playground falls within the category of being inspected under the guidelines, such as in the case of a private playground or personal backyard.

In addition to regulations regarding equipment, the caregivers of the children who visit the playgrounds can also be at fault. With texting and talking on cell phones, and using cell phones for work, watching movies and reading, the distraction level for caregivers to pay attention to the screen rather than the child is even more evident. In fact, some have said that more children’s injuries occur as a result of a device that takes the caregiver’s eyes away from the children at play.

What are some things you can do to protect your child from an injury involving playground equipment or another child at the playground? Here are just a few tips:

  • Pay attention! As with anything—whether you are on the road or in the playground—pay attention to the task at hand, and what you are supposed to be doing; namely, watching the children.
  • Check for postings or signs that indicate that the equipment on the playground is inspected and regulated. Alternatively, if there is an absence of signs, that could be a red flag.
  • Make sure the children on the play equipment are the proper age for it; no tiny babies in swings, and no oversized kids on equipment that doesn’t hold their weight.
  • Look for pieces and shards, or pieces of the play equipment that might stick out to cause children’s clothing to be come caught, or cause injury.

If your child has been injured as a result of faulty playground equipment, you will want to document the medical case and have pictures ready for your Manhattan attorney to review.

Playgrounds are ever popular, and as parents we love to take our kids there so they can wear themselves out for a restful sleep that evening. But, even our best intentions at a “safe” playground can become hazardous if we are not paying attention or taking them to the proper playgrounds. Stay alert for you and your child.