WATCH OUT! THE HIDDEN DANGERS OF PLAYGROUNDS
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 200,000 children are injured each year on playgrounds, and about a dozen of them die. They also report that the majority of accidents occur for the same reasons, and that a good number of them could easily be preventable.
Faulty Equipment or Playground Design
Accidents are sometimes caused by faulty playground equipment or a poorly designed facility. For example, children could get their heads or torsos in between objects or have equipment such as swings or merry-go-rounds actually fall apart while they are being used. Pinched fingers in the chains of swings and climbing bridges along with cuts and scrapes from exposed metal are also common.
When equipment is not designed properly, the risk of entanglement also increases. As such, the space in between a slide and its platform could easily cause a child’s clothing or shoestrings to get caught, which could lead to sprains, broken bones or even strangulation.
Playground injuries also happen whenever the facility is not maintained properly. Some of the maintenance issues that could lead to child injuries are:
- Failure to replace rusty hardware on swings and slides
- Not having the right type or amount of mulch underneath equipment to break falls
- Replacing wooden structures that have rotted
- Failing to provide guardrails on climbing equipment
Playgrounds can be especially dangerous when wet because equipment can become very slippery and difficult to hold onto. Injuries could easily be prevented if equipment were dried off after a heavy rain or snowfall. Equipment that’s located directly in the sun can also burn children, which is why it is a good idea to provide a shade or canopy over top of it.
Having a soft surface to break falls is also very important. A playground should ideally have between three and four inches of wood chips, shredded rubber or peanut hulls that completely cover the bottom of it if they are to provide adequate protection.
Parents should never take for granted that a playground is safe until a thorough inspection of it has been performed. This should include checking the thickness of mulch, looking for rusted hardware, and determining whether or not there are rusty or sharp edges present. Should unsafe conditions be discovered, the proper authorities should be contacted as soon as possible. Photographic evidence should also be obtained, as it could serve as proof of negligence in a court of law in the event a child is injured.
However, taking pictures isn’t enough. If your son or daughter has been injured on a playground, then you need professional legal assistance…and fast. Schedule a free case evaluation and call 713-222-1222 today.
*Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net