How to Prevent Playground Injuries
Floridians are fortunate enough to have great weather that allows us to utilize the playground throughout the year. There is no snow to close a playground down, so there is always a place we can take the kids to run off that excess energy. However, this convenience may also pave the way for more playground injuries.
The Centers for Disease Control reported that 200,000 children under the age of 14 are injured each year as the result of a playground injury. At least 45 percent of those injuries are severe and may include internal injuries, dislocations, and even amputations.
As parents, we need to be diligent about ensuring our child's safety while on the playground.
Check the Playground's Surface
Falls are one of the top causes of playground injuries, so before allowing your children to play, you should check the surface of the playground. The playground equipment shouldn't be placed on asphalt or concrete surfaces. Instead, there should be some kind of safety tiles, mulch, or a recycled rubber material to help keep the children safe in the event of a fall.
Check All Playground Equipment
Once you have assessed the surface, you need to check the equipment before allowing your children to play. The equipment should be well-maintained, and there should be no large openings where the child's head or body may get stuck. There should also be no strings or ropes that could possibly cause strangulation.
Check the Temperature
With the hot Florida weather, it is entirely possible for the playground equipment to heat up immensely. This means that it can possibly also cause burns if your child tries to play when it is too hot. So, to avoid this kind of injury, always check the temperature first.
Is the slide protected by a structure or some kind of shade? Are there any metal areas on the playground? Check each surface before allowing the children on the playground equipment. Even the gravel or other surfaces of the playground can become hot as well.
Florida also has many splash pads at playgrounds because of the warmer weather. So, you will also need to make sure that there are no wet surfaces on the playground that can cause your or your child to slip and fall. All splash pad areas, decks, and water play surfaces should be outfitted with a slip-resistant surface.
Finally, beware of any strangulation or choking hazards there may be on the playground. Playgrounds with nets, for example, offer a softer place for a child to land but they also can turn out to be harmful and potentially dangerous if the holes in the netting are too large. If the perimeter opening of the netting used on the playground is between 17 and 28 inches, it can be potentially dangerous for a child.
Children should also avoid wearing their bike helmets while on the playground as well because they may actually pose a strangulation hazard. As the child tries to get through a smaller opening in the playground, the helmet can become wedged.
Finally, you should also educate yourself on some basic first aid, so you are always prepared in case something does happen while you are the playground with your children.
If your child is injured on the playground because it was not properly maintained or safety hazards were not addressed, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case and premises liability. You may be eligible for compensation due to the child's injuries that were sustained while playing on the playground.