According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Statistics, each year over 200,000 children are rushed to emergency rooms from playground related injuries. That’s over 500 kids per day!
The good news is that playground accidents are totally preventable. Parents and caregivers need to remember four factors that contribute to a SAFE playground. Supervision, Age-appropriate equipment, Fall surface and Equipment maintenance.
The first key factor in keeping your child safe on the playground is Supervision. Making sure that your child uses the playground equipment properly can prevent falls and other accidents.
It’s also important for parents to assess whether or not each piece of equipment is appropriate for the Age and size of their children. We spoke to Terry Rogers of Jacksonville Florida, owner of Southern Recreation and a Certified Playground Safety Inspector for the National Playground Institute. While he notes that some playgrounds have signs indicating the appropriate age level, it’s ultimately up to parents to ensure their children are using the correct equipment. “There’s age appropriateness on all equipment. There’s 3 classifications: 6 months to 23 months, 2 year old to 5 year old, and 5 year old to 12 year old. And all the equipment is designed and pigeon holed into one of those three categories. Ideally that set should be separated into two separate structures to where you go here and you go here and the two don’t mix. Doesn’t always happen.” A good rule of thumb is that if a child has to be lifted up to use a piece of equipment, he’s too young to be playing on it.
In addition to Supervision and Age Appropriateness, parents should be especially mindful of the Fall Surface underneath the playground equipment. “Most injuries occur when children fall from the equipment to the ground, not from the equipment to equipment. So if you don’t have adequate safety surfacing to absorb the fall, the impact attenuation, then that’s when you’re going to get your broken arms, your head injuries and so forth.” Parents should avoid letting their children use playground equipment that is installed over hard surfaces like concrete, asphalt, blacktop, pea gravel, grass, or soil. Instead, look for playgrounds whose floors are filled with materials that will absorb impact, such as engineered wood fiber, synthetic turf, loose rubber fill, or poured in place rubber. “As far as the consumer, it’s just going to be a visual observation and walking on it. If you can feel it sponge and give, then you know you’ve got a surface that’s acceptable.”
Parents should also inspect the playground Equipment to ensure it has been properly maintained. Equipment should be free of deterioration, splinters, rust, and cracks.
Armed with this vital information, we hope that your trips to the playground remain fun and SAFE.
I’m Ken Moll for Legal News Network — your source for safety information.
For free consumer safety information and case updates, visit: http://www.legalnewsnetwork.com/