School playgrounds hold happy memories for children of all ages, but children may not be aware of the inherent dangers of the equipment they have been playing on. More than 200,00 children under the age of 15 go to an emergency room to be treated for playground-related injuries each year in the United States. Of those injuries, over 20,000 are considered traumatic brain injuries – including concussions. Almost 75% of playground related injuries occur on public playgrounds, with the majority happening at school. Proper playground safety is essential to keeping children safe while playing outside at school and elsewhere.
What Types of Injuries Can Occur on School Playgrounds?
While playground safety should be a priority, there are many ways children can be injured while playing on a school playground. Playground injuries can occur from falling off tall playground equipment, slipping on playground surfaces, tripping over playground items, or even getting burned by the playground equipment in the sun. Over half of the playground-related injuries treated in an emergency room are fractures and contusions, which can be incredibly jarring for any child and can be an unexpected and significant financial burden on a family.
Traumatic brain injuries are also a common playground-related injury. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are defined as a disruption of the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, according to the CDC, and include concussions. The rate of TBIs caused by a playground-related injury has increased over the past 10 years. Traumatic brain injuries often affect children playing on the monkey bars, climbing on climbing walls, or swinging on a variety of different types of swings.
Sadly, playground-related injuries can lead to death. Deaths, while rare, have occurred on playgrounds from strangulation involving slides or swings, as well as from falls while on higher playground equipment that may not have proper safety rails or surfaces. Ensuring the playground is safe is vital to preventing any type of injury from occurring.
Keeping Playgrounds Safe
Playground safety can be prioritized by taking precautions when building a school playground, maintaining a playground while in use, ensuring safety equipment is properly installed, and posting required safety signage as required by state law. Well-maintained school playgrounds pose fewer risks to children when compared to rusty or broken playground equipment. A few other ways to ensure playground safety include:
- Installing proper safety measures, such as guardrails, which can help prevent falls from tall playground structures.
- Having soft material underneath the playground equipment, including wood chips, sand, or mulch.
- Checking the school playground for tripping hazards – including tree stumps or large rocks – then marking them appropriately to help prevent children from tripping while playing or running.
Houston, Texas Child Injury Attorneys
Playing outdoors can be very fun and a memorable experience for children while at school, but accidents on the playground do occur and can be incredibly traumatic for the entire family. The personal injury attorneys at Adame Garza believe all children should be able to enjoy playgrounds without fear of being seriously injured or killed due to negligent maintenance or lack of playground safety. If you or a loved one has been injured at a playground, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact us today to learn more.