Nearly all parents have taken their children to a playground. We expect these facilities to be a safe place for our children to play with other children, have a good time and get some exercise while they are there. What you may not know is the incidence of playground accidents is significant. According to Daycare.com, more than 200,000 pre-school children are injured in playground accidents each year. More than seventy percent of those injuries are to children below the age of four. Parents usually feel that playground equipment is safe and that someone is taking care of equipment at public facilities. However, because of the high-use of public equipment, the maintenance may be lacking.
Playground Licenses and Standards
California playgrounds for example do have to adhere to specific safety codes. The laws are designed to ensure that playground equipment meets minimum standards and that all surfaces are designed in a manner that helps reduce the possibility of a playground accident. These laws apply to all playgrounds which grant public access to their facilities. This includes school playgrounds, playgrounds at churches, day care facilities and apartments as well as gated communities. One of the challenges facing parents however, is that sometimes upgrades or changes to the facilities do not always require new inspections. The law can be vague about the standards for adding or removing equipment and what process must be followed.
Swings Pose Special Hazards
More children below the age of four suffer injuries on swings than on any other piece of playground equipment. One would think that children would be safe on a swing but there are a number of injuries that can occur:
Poorly maintained swings – seats or chains holding swings can break resulting in the swing coming off the frame causing injury.
Chains poorly maintained – chains that hold swings to the frame can become tangled in a child’s clothing and cause them to be unable to get away from a swing before being hit.
Poorly maintained surfaces – playground surfaces must be properly maintained in order to minimize injuries from falling. Not all surfaces meet the minimum standards.
While not all accidents are the result of negligence, if the swings in a playground are poorly maintained, your child may suffer serious injuries. Medical bills can pile up and cause severe financial challenges for parents. Even if you are uncertain as to whether the injury was the result of negligence, it may be a good idea to contact a personal injury attorney.
Dangers of Slides
Many parents think that the worst that can happen to a child on a slide is that they get stuck half-way down. However, slides pose a number of hidden dangers that many of us have not considered:
Serious burns – slides that are metal can cause serious burns on hot day. These burns occur on the back of legs, hands and even arms. These burns can be quite severe depending on how long the heat has been captured by the metal surfaces of the slide.
Stair problems – most slides have steps to help the children get to the top. Poorly constructed or maintained steps can cause a child to fall down the stairs backwards causing significant injuries.
Other dangers – children who are wearing helmets on playgrounds could find the straps caught in the gutters of slides or getting caught on protrusions. In addition, children falling on each other at the bottom of the slide can also cause serious injury.
Nearly all of us have been witness to a playground accident; when children play, accidents can happen. However, when playground equipment is poorly maintained or minimum safety standards are not upheld, your child’s injuries may be the result of negligence.
While not all accidents are the result of negligence, you should still contact a personal injury lawyer who understands playground accident laws. Protect your child’s rights by contacting a personal injury attorney. For additional information, you should consider downloading The Public Playground Safety Handbook: Publication #325) published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. PDF Document