We think of playgrounds as vibrant, fun places for our children to enjoy quality time outdoors. However, playgrounds can hide a number of hazards that can cause serious injuries, particularly when children are not carefully monitored as they play. While most playground equipment is fun and reasonably safe, we noticed three structures that have consistently caused recorded injuries.
In this article, we discuss some of the potential hazards of swing sets, monkey bars, and merry-go-rounds. It’s important to note that, if your child suffers harm at a playground due to dangerous or defective equipment, it’s likely worth speaking to a Portland personal injury lawyer. They can help determine whether there might be grounds for an injury lawsuit.
The Hidden Dangers of Swing Sets
Swing sets offer children an undeniably exhilarating ride, particularly if you’re willing to give them a good push to get things started. However, swing sets do pose a few risks as well. Children may run in front of a swing set in motion on accident and be hit by another rider. There’s also a chance that a kid may lose their grip mid-swing and be thrown into the air. A fall of this nature can cause cuts and scrapes or even more serious injuries, such as broken bones or head injuries.
Even well-maintained swing sets can pose a risk to a child’s safety. Worn-out or incorrectly installed swing sets are even more dangerous. Loose chains, rusty frames, and uneven ground surfaces can all contribute to accidents. If one of the swing’s chains break while a child is in motion, the kid is likely to be thrown to the ground. Similarly, a wobbly frame can lead to unpredictable swaying or tipping while a child is in the air.
To minimize these risks, vigilance and proper supervision are key. Parents and caregivers must be active observers, ensuring children swing responsibly and avoid reckless behavior like standing on the seats or jumping off while in motion. The playground’s owner or maintenance crew must regularly inspect equipment and make necessary repairs in a timely manner.
Monkey Bars & The Risk of Serious Injury
Kids love scrambling across monkey bars, and they can be a great way for children to improve their coordination. However the design of some monkey bars sets presents significant fall risks. Young children are developing their balance and coordination, which can cause them to misjudge distances or overestimate their abilities. A mistake of this nature can lead to a fall from a significant height, which can result in serious head injuries.
In addition to the ever-present danger of falls, the gaps between bars can cause children to be stuck. A curious child may try to fit their head between the bars and be unable to get free, which poses serious injury risks. Additionally, the competitive nature of monkey bars can lead to pushing, shoving, and other types of reckless behavior between children.
Fortunately, most modern monkey bars are designed to alleviate these potential problems to the greatest extent possible. Lower-hanging monkey bars and curved structures are significantly safer for younger children with more limited mobility. For children that are older and more ambitious, padded landing zones can significantly reduce the impact of falls.
If you visit a playground with your child, encourage them to play nicely with other kids. Encouraging good behavior, such as having your child wait their turn between climbing sessions, can reduce the chance of an incident occurring.
Potential Hazards of Merry-Go-Rounds
The nostalgic allure of merry-go-rounds is undeniable. Many parents have countless pleasant memories of tumbling around on a merry-go-round as a child. However, a defective or poorly maintained merry-go-round can pose serious risks to children. There is always a chance of children falling off the equipment, especially if they attempt to get on or off the machine while it is already moving. A defective merry-go-round may also change speed abruptly or come to a sudden stop, which can potentially send riders flying.
There is also an ever-present risk of collisions between riders on the merry-go-round. Kids can hit each other or bump into the center pole while dodging other riders. In some cases, a merry-go-round can even trigger motion sickness if the ride is moving too quickly. This can cause nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. In addition to making the ride rather unpleasant for everyone involved, it’s also very unsanitary if the equipment isn’t properly cleaned after someone is sick on the ride.
As with other playground equipment, responsible supervision by a qualified adult is key to keeping everyone safe and happy. Parents and caregivers should have their children wait until the equipment comes to a complete stop before boarding and disembarking. The recommended maximum number of riders should never be exceeded, and the speed of the ride should be monitored closely, especially for younger children.
Avoid Playground Accidents With Thorough Oversight
We can all play our part in making playgrounds a truly safe space for children to have fun and interact with each other. By keeping a close eye on our children, explaining and enforcing playground etiquette, and reporting any dangerous or defective equipment, we can work together to create a great experience for everyone.