Playgrounds are essential spaces for children’s physical activity and social development. However, they also pose risks of injury if proper precautions are not taken. There are about 206,700 playground injuries every year in the US and have been 43 playground-related deaths since 2014. In this blog, we’ll explore the most common playground injuries, their causes, who may be liable, and essential tips for preventing playground accidents.

What Causes a Playground Injury?

Playground injuries can result from various factors, including:

  • Lack of supervision: Inadequate adult supervision increases the likelihood of accidents, especially among younger children.
  • Poor maintenance: Broken equipment, uneven surfaces, and debris pose hazards that can lead to injuries.
  • Unsafe design: Playgrounds with inadequate fall surfaces, improper spacing between equipment, and lack of safety features increase the risk of accidents.
  • Lack of age-appropriate equipment: Playgrounds should have equipment suitable for different age groups to prevent injuries.

Common Playground Injuries

  1. Fractures and Sprains: Falls from equipment, such as slides, monkey bars, and swings, can cause fractures, sprains, and strains.
  2. Cuts and Abrasions: Sharp edges, protruding bolts, and broken equipment can cause cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
  3. Concussions: Falls from heights or collisions with other children can result in head injuries, including concussions.
  4. Strangulation: Improperly designed or maintained swings, ropes, or other equipment can pose a strangulation hazard.
  5. Burns: Metal equipment exposed to direct sunlight can become hot and cause burns, especially in warmer climates.

Who Is Liable For A Playground Injury?

Determining liability for a playground injury depends on various factors. If the injury resulted from negligent equipment maintenance, the property owner would be liable. For example, if a chain on the swing set broke or a loose bolt caused a surface to be unstable, the property owner is liable for the accident. However, if the playground equipment has a design defect or flaw, the manufacturer could bear fault for an accident. Lastly, if a supervising adult is not providing adequate supervision by intervening in unsafe situations, they can be at fault.

How To Prevent Playground Accidents

There is an inherent risk of accidents and injuries when kids play on playgrounds. There are precautions parents and property owners can take to limit these risks. First, parents should keep a constant eye on their kids while they are using playground equipment. They should also be close enough to where they could intervene in an instant in case a child does something risky. Additionally, ensure the child is playing with age-appropriate equipment. Many playgrounds have a separate section for younger children. These smaller playgrounds are designed for smaller kids to lessen the risk of injuries. Property owners, whether it be daycares, schools, or municipalities, can mitigate risks by performing regular maintenance on all equipment. They also should provide safe surfacing such as mulch or rubber. Make sure to teach your children safe playground practices and warn them of the risks of unsafe behavior.

By understanding the causes of playground injuries, identifying potential liabilities, and implementing preventive measures, we can create safer playground environments for our children to enjoy. Let’s work together to protect our little ones and ensure that playgrounds remain places of fun, learning, and adventure.