The arrival of a beautiful Oklahoma spring means better weather and the chance for kids who have been cooped up to get out and play. They’re clamoring for a trip to the playground.
The first outing of the spring is a good time for parents to check the playground for safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that each year, more than 200,000 kids who are 14 and under are seen in emergency rooms for injuries suffered on the playground. More than 10 percent of the children are diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, including concussions.
Some other facts from the CDC:
- About 75 percent of injuries related to playground equipment happen on public playgrounds.
- Approximately 55 percent of injuries that occur on playgrounds are cuts, scrapes and bruises.
- About 66 percent of brain injuries that occur on playgrounds happen when a child has played on the swings, monkey bars or climbing toys.
- Most playground-related brain injuries are reported in April, May and September.
- Children who are ages 5 through 9 visit the emergency room for playground injuries most often.
Parents should be diligent about checking out the condition of the playground before their children use equipment. That includes taking a look at the school playground. They shouldn’t hesitate to tell the principal or other official about anything that appears unsafe.
What should they be looking for? Playgrounds should be:
- Properly maintained and without any rusty or broken equipment
- Fitted with soft material under any equipment, such as sand or mulch
- Right for the child’s age
- Fitted with guardrails
- Free of things that can cause trips, such as tree stumps
It’s worth taking a few minutes to survey the surroundings before letting children run around and play. Even with your due diligence, there could be hidden dangers that could cause injury. If that occurs, the owners of the playground or the equipment manufacturer could be held liable.