Children and Playground Injuries: Five Tips for Safer Play
As summertime approaches and public parks and spaces reopen, parents and children may be visiting a nearby playground for some welcome fresh air and sunshine. At the time of this post, COVID-19 is also a reality that has changed daily routines and precautions taken for many families. Before heading to a local playground or taking your child to play on a friend or family member’s backyard playset, minimize your child’s risk of injury by reviewing the five tips below.
- Developmentally and Age Appropriate Play Equipment
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests looking for posted signs regarding the age requirements for play on the equipment. If you are at someone’s home, signs may not be present. The National Program for Playground Safety shares specifics for different ages and stages, breaking children into the following groups: 6 months through 23 months, 2 to 5 years and 5 to 12 years. Visit their website to review the kinds of developmentally appropriate play by age group. The National Safety Council (NSC) states that “openings between rails, bars, rungs and even ropes of cargo nets should be less than 3 1/2 inches or more than 9 inches.”
- A Soft Landing Matters
The CDC also recommends playgrounds are outfitted with soft material (think mulch, sand or wood chips). The extra cushion helps with shock absorption; the NSC calls for 12 inches around playground equipment. They also list pea gravel and safety-tested rubber as options.
- Leave at Home
NSC cautions against strangulation hazards caused by attaching “ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines or pet leashes” to playground equipment. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests leaving “sweatshirts with drawstrings and necklaces at home.” Bike helmets shouldn’t be worn on the playground.
4. Watch Out for Tripping Hazards and Dangerous Edges
Also on the CDC’s list is being aware of tripping hazards, including stumps and rocks. Check for equipment points and edges that may be dangerous.
5. Guardrails in Place
NSC recommends guardrails or barriers for platforms higher than 30 inches. They report that “nearly 80% of playground injuries are caused by falls.” Additionally, in an investigation of 40 playground deaths between 2001 and 2008, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found 15% of deaths were the result of falls.
We Are Here to Help
Contact our personal injury firm if your child has been injured due to unsafe playground equipment in South Carolina. We offer a free consultation and 24-hour answering service. We have five convenient locations, with three South Carolina locations being fully staffed with full-time attorneys and experienced support staff, or we can meet you at your home or hospital, with evening and weekend appointments available. Call John Price Law Firm, LLC at 843-594-0515.