Playgrounds are a great outlet for kids, providing a space for physical activity and exercise, creativity, and social interaction. And while there is no doubt that play is a key part of healthy growth-both physically and mentally-every year, thousands of children are harmed on playgrounds throughout the United States. If you are a parent of a child in Kentucky, knowing what you can do as a parent to reduce the risk of a playground injury, and what to do if your child is harmed on the playground, is important.
Playground Injury Statistics: What You Need to Know
According to PlaygroundSafety.org, over an eight year time period in the United States, there were 218,851 preschool and elementary school children treated in emergency rooms for playground-related injuries. More than 60 percent of these injuries happened on public play equipment, and about 15 percent of the injuries were classified as "severe." Of the playground-related injuries that were reported, the most common causes of injuries were:
- Falls or equipment failure (67 percent);
- Hazards around equipment (eight percent);
- Collisions with equipment or other children (seven percent); and
- Entrapment-related accidents (seven percent).
The other 11 percent of injury causes were classified as "other." The types of equipment that were most commonly associated with child injuries were slides, swings, monkey bars, and climbers. Tragically, there were more than three dozen deaths caused by playground accidents during the time period for which accident data was recorded.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the average age of a child killed in a playground-related accident was six years old. 68 percent of the deaths occurred as a result of strangulation, and 15 percent died from falls from a height to the playground surface.
What You Can Do to Reduce the Risk of a Playground Injury
The idea of your child suffering a serious injury on the playground is extremely unsettling. In order to reduce the risk of anything harmful happening to your little one, here are some tips:
- Pay attention to your child's clothing. Many of the strangulation injuries that occur on playgrounds involve clothes that have drawstrings or are especially loose fitting. If you're playing in the winter, make sure that scarves, hats with ties, and connected gloves aren't used in order to reduce the risk of them getting caught.
- Choose playgrounds with soft materials. Another thing that you can do to reduce the risk of a playground injury is to choose a playground that has soft materials on the ground, such as mulch or woodchips. Playgrounds that only have concrete under them may be more dangerous, as concrete is a much harder surface and increase the risk of bone fracture, head injury, and other serious injury type of a fall does occur.
- Choose an age-appropriate playground. In addition to choosing a playground for your child that has a soft surface, you should also be sure to select a playground that is appropriate for your child's age. For example, if your little one has just learned to walk, playgrounds with high platforms and climbing areas may not be recommended.
- If you see something, say something. Playgrounds aren't always maintained as they should be, and over time, wear and tear may lead to dangerous conditions. If you notice rusted parts, sharp objects, broken equipment, or loose equipment, choose a different playground and report the problem to the responsible party (often times, a municipal government).
Who Is Liable for Injuries that Happen on the Playground?
While there are a number of things that you can do to reduce the risk of a playground related injury, sometimes an accident is out of your control. If an accident on a playground occurs that leaves your child with serious injuries, and you believe that the accident would not have occurred but for the actions of another party, you may have a claim for damages.
Contact an Experienced Kentucky Playground Injury Attorney
At the offices of the Slechter Law Firm, our experienced premises liability attorneys in Kentucky are looking out for your best interests, and know that you want an advocate on your side when your child has been harmed. To learn more about how we can help you and for a free case review, send us a message with a summary of your story, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. You can also call us (502) 384-7400.