Is Playground Equipment Dangerous to Your Children?Feb 8, 2017
Playgrounds May Be Dangerous to Children
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) some 200,000 children receive treatment in hospital emergency rooms nationwide each year for playground related injuries. Worse, approximately 15 children die as a result of playground injuries yearly. Typically, injuries result from falls and deaths are usually the result of strangulation, the CPSC reports.
Many of the parks and playgrounds in New York City present hazards for the children that play at these playgrounds year-round. In fact, research conducted in New York City found that playgrounds with zip codes in lower income areas experience increased rates of maintenance-related hazards when compared to playgrounds located in areas where the residents had higher incomes. Some of the dangers that were present involved rusty play equipment, damaged fall surfaces, and a great deal of trash. Public playgrounds do have applicable industry standards; however, no federal regulations exist for playgrounds, according to The Morning Journal.
Some 45 percent of playground injuries are considered to be severe, such as:
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
Approximately 75 percent of all nonfatal injuries associated with playground equipment occur on public playgrounds that are located at daycare centers and schools. In just one decade, 147 children under the age of 15 died from playground equipment injuries. About half-56 percent-some 82 children died due to strangulation. Another 20 percent or 31 children died in falls. The significant cost tied to these types of injuries in one year for children's playground-related injuries for children under the age of 15 cost about $1.2 billion, notes The Morning Journal.
The personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have years of experience representing clients in accident lawsuits. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a lawsuit.
What to Look for in a Playground
MorningJournal.com notes that the traditional, so-called "old-school" playgrounds that were outfitted with blacktops and metal equipment may no longer be used in most neighborhoods today; however, there are a good number of hazards to look out for when selecting equipment for homes or to be aware of elsewhere to ensure safe play.
The CPSC complied a safety list for parents to follow for their children playing on playgrounds:
MorningJournal notes that thermal burns present serious dangers, even on equipment that is made of nonmetal surfaces and burns and injuries may occur when a parent holds a child on their laps on a slide. A study found that 14 percent of pediatric leg fractures occurred in this way. For example, a child's shoe sole may stick to the slide on the way down while the adult's weight and momentum continues.
Experts also say that play structure height and the depth of fill materials underneath should be considered. "The amount of loose fill needed depends on the height of your equipment," said CPSC spokeswoman Nikki Fleming. She added that surfacing depth recommendations may be found in the 2006 Outdoor Home Playground Safety Handbook. Industry standards apply to public playgrounds and the handbook includes the latest safety standard information and tips, Ms. Fleming said, noting that this information has been adopted by many municipalities, according to MorningJournal.
"Many public schools and day cares are required to use shock-absorbing materials under playground equipment, but these requirements vary by state and municipality," Ms. Fleming said. CPSC has recommended impact-attenuating surfacing under playground equipment as far back as the early 1980s. The commission does not maintain a list of products that rate well for safety, but does provide information about recalls and product-related playground incidents in its Safer Products Database, at saferproducts.gov.
National Safety Council (NSC.com) indicated how dangerous the playgrounds of decades ago were with all components were made of metal and slides would become so hot they would burn skin off thigh. NSC.com also noted that children would fly off spinning equipment or play 10 feet in the air on monkey bars to fall on very hard earth or concrete. Although playgrounds are no longer manufactured in this way, a recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study indicates that emergency departments still see more than 20,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related traumatic brain injury annually.
Filing a Playground Equipment Lawsuit
If you or someone you know is interested in filing a personal injury lawsuit, contact the personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman today. For more information, call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).