Now that school is back in full gear and large groups of children will be frequenting the school yard playground, it is important for us to be reminded of some basic playground safety tips. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), every year more than 200,000 children are treated in emergency rooms as a result of playground injuries. Children are active beings so injuries are inevitable, but there are things that can be done to decrease the chance of injuries.
The first rule of thumb is to never put children’s climbing gyms on hard surfaces, indoors or outdoors. Approximately 80% of playground injuries are caused by falls to the ground so improper surfacing can be a leading cause of playground injuries. A more appropriate type of surface for a climbing gym would be on top of wood chips, mulch, wood fibers, sand, pea gravel, shredded tires, and cushioned rubber mats. The NSC recommends that surface material be at least 12 inches in-depth and 6 feet around each piece of playground equipment.
Second, playground swings should have soft seats, not metal or wooden seats. The NSC recommends that only two swings should be on a supporting framework and the swings should be at least 24 inches apart. Additionally, half-bucket seats found on many playgrounds are extremely dangerous and should be avoided because babies can easily slide out of them.
Third, as mentioned above, most playground injuries are a result of falling off of climbing equipment. Many experts have even recommended that monkey bars be removed from all playgrounds as a result of the numerous injuries caused by falls from them. Regardless, always make sure a guard rail or barrier surrounds raised platforms and check that handrails are in good condition on all climbing equipment.
Lastly, if you notice unsafe conditions on a playground speak up. Improvements can only be made if the correct individuals are notified. There are no national mandatory safety standards that playgrounds must abide by, but some states have enacted laws that promote playground safety. It is important to check the laws in your state to make sure your child’s playground follows the local standards.
If your child or a loved one has suffered a personal injury while on the playground, learn about your legal rights from an experienced New Orleans personal injury attorney by filling out our free, no obligation case review form located on this website.