Now that the warm spring weather is here to stay (hopefully), it’s time to turn our attention to safety on the playground. Hundreds of thousands of children visit the emergency room for playground injuries every year. While most are mere bumps and bruises, some injuries result in severe trauma that can take months to recover from– sometimes more.
To help spread awareness of how to keep children safe this season, the National Program for Playground Safety (N.P.P.S.) founded National Playground Safety Week. From April 25 to April 29, this safety campaign helps families spread awareness in their communities to keep kids safe and teaches simple safety precautions to prevent harm at home and in public play spaces.
Playground Injury Stats
Brainline reports that 200,000 children visit emergency rooms across the country annually for playground-related injuries. Tragically, at least 15 of these incidents result in fatal consequences.
Falls are the most common cause of playground injuries, resulting in 79% of hospital visits and 90% of injuries classified as severe. Most playground injuries occur in public playgrounds and parks, constituting 76% of hospital visits recorded.
When most parents think of playground injuries, we remember some scratches, bruises, and the occasional head bump that interrupted our play. Unfortunately, playground-related injuries can be life-threatening and debilitating, particularly as playground designs continue to evolve. Frequent injuries reported include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Bone fractures
- Soft tissue damage
- Spinal cord damage
- Severe bruising
How to Keep Kids Safe
Most injuries can be prevented, and you should take precautionary steps to keep kids safe on the playground.
SafeKids offers the following tips for keeping children safe when playing outdoors to help keep kids out of the emergency room this season:
- Supervise: Actively supervising children on the playground helps parents catch dangerous behaviors before injuries occur. Monitoring younger children can also keep them away from advanced equipment too dangerous for their age and abilities.
- Inspect equipment: Some playgrounds may have broken or damaged surfaces from the harsh winter weather or poor maintenance. Inspect the playground before your child starts playing and report issues to local offices or schools.
- Encourage safe play: Coach your children about how to play safely with others on the playground. Discourage behaviors such as pushing, shoving, crowding, or racing on structures with openings where falls can occur.
- Dress appropriately: Ensure your child is not wearing long or baggy clothing that can get caught or tripped on while playing. If your child is wearing dress clothes that are awkward to play in, keep spare comfy play clothes in the car. Also, avoid scarves, long necklaces, and purses that can pose a strangulation risk when caught.
- Age-appropriate play: Big kids and little kids play differently. Even though a toddler may want to scale the big playground, it can be dangerous when groups of older kids are present. Choose playgrounds appropriate for your child’s age and abilities to reduce injuries and the risk of severe injuries when accidents do occur. If your child insists on the bigger structures, choose a time to visit when crowds are small.
For more safety tips on preventing playground injuries this spring, check out more of SafeKids’ Playground Safety Tips here.
Participating in National Playground Safety Week
You can do plenty of things to help prevent playground injuries in your neighborhood this season. Safe At Play, an organization improving playground safety, suggests starting with the following:
- Design surveys for your local playground to look for feedback on safety improvements.
- Talk to your child's school about damaged equipment or playground supervision.
- Create safety posters for your community to encourage safe play.
- Host guest speakers at your local playgrounds to rally community support.
- Inspect local play structures for damages and report to responsible parties to address.
- Write letters to local governors and municipalities to host events or talk more about making existing playgrounds safer for our kids.
There are endless ways to help protect children in Connecticut. For more ideas, visit Safe At Play for existing events and resources.
Jacobs & Wallace Accident Attorneys
If you or someone you love is injured in an accident, you need an experienced law firm to represent you. Jacobs & Wallace, PLLC, has decades of experience fighting for the rights of Connecticut’s injured victims. Please contact us today for a FREE case evaluation: 203-332-7700.