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.
Playground Injury Facts
- 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.
- Most playground injuries happen at school or parks.
Playground Safety Tips
- 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.
Additional Playground Safety Resources
- Epidemiology of playground equipment-related injuries to children in the United States, 1996-2005
- PubMed Abstract - January 2009
- Press Release - October 2008