Playgrounds are a great place for children to play outside and get exercise. Unfortunately more than 213,000 kids younger than 18 are treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments for playground-related injuries every year. Although playground guidelines and standards exist, more needs to be done to prevent these injuries.
Of the children treated in U.S. emergency departments for injuries from playgrounds:
Most injuries are the result of a fall.
The most common types of injuries include broken bones, bruises, cuts, and sprains.
The arm is the most commonly injured body part.
Injuries occur most often on climbers, swings and slides.
Children ages 5 to 12 suffer the most injuries.
Avoid playground equipment over concrete, blacktop or grass. Play equipment should have wood chips, rubber surfacing or sand under and around it.
Check for spaces where your child’s head could get stuck. Spaces should be smaller than 3.5 inches or larger than 9 inches in length and width.
Make sure platforms and ramps have guardrails or barriers.
Fix places where children might trip, such as tree roots, rocks and uneven concrete.
Never attach ropes, jump ropes, clothesline or pet leashes to playground equipment.
Have children remove bicycle helmets before entering the playground areas so that their heads do not get stuck in the equipment.
PubMed Abstract: Epidemiology of Playground Equipment-Related Injuries to Children in the United States, 1996-2005 - January 2009
Press Release: National Study Evaluates Playground Equipment-Related Injuries - October 6, 2008