Whether your favorite childhood activity was the slide, the see-saw, the monkey bars, or the swing-set playgrounds hold a special and treasured place in most people’s memories. They’re a fun part of childhood where kids are able to test their strength, agility and social skills — but without proper supervision and safety measures, they can also be dangerous or deadly. While most public parks and play sets are perfectly safe, certain factors can transform even an otherwise safe jungle gym into a serious accident risk. Common reasons for playground injuries to children can include negligent supervision by the caregiver and improper playground construction or maintenance. These factors can lead to serious childhood injury or even death.
If your child has suffered a serious injury on playground equipment, you may be entitled to compensation for his or her injuries. The Fayetteville AR personal injury lawyers of the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak have more than 20 years of experience handling a broad array of legal matters. We offer strategic legal representation that addresses your concerns at each stage of the litigation process.
CDC Reports 200,000 Playground Injuries Every Year
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that on an annual basis, more than 200,000 children aged 14 or younger are admitted to emergency departments for care after a playground accident. Contrary to what stereotypes might lead one to guess, girls are actually more susceptible to playground injuries than boys, sustaining about 55% of all injuries while boys accounted for 45%.
Nearly half of all reported injuries, about 45%, were classified as severe including:
- Bone Fractures
- Internal Injuries
These injuries are not scuffed knees, bloody elbows or twisted ankles — they are agonizingly painful, enormously expensive, and sometimes life-altering medical issues that can require extensive surgery and therapy to treat. These are catastrophic injuries that can alter the course of a childhood and life.
In very extreme cases, accidents can be fatal. According to the CDC, a total of 147 children (aged 14 or younger) died from their injuries between 1990 and 2000. Among fatal incidents:
- 56% involved strangulation
- 20% involved falls
The majority of fatal accidents — approximately 70% — took place in the child’s own backyard. This grim statistic serves as a bleak reminder that home-assembled play spaces are not necessarily the safer option. Whether you choose to place your child in a public or private playground setting, careful vigilance is always key to preventing tragedy.
Additional Safety risks Identified by the CPSC
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is entrusted with protecting the public from risky or dangerous consumer products. While fall injuries are always a concern for parents and guardians, the agency has also identified a number of other specific risks that parents should be aware of before allowing their child to utilize playground equipment. These dangers include:
- Strangulation by cargo nets – Cargo nets are an increasingly popular playground feature, but they can be deadly if they are improperly designed or maintained. The CPSC warns parents that cargo nets can be an entrapment hazard when the net openings are between 17 inches and 28 inches. When the net openings are within this range, a child’s head can pass through and then become stuck resulting in a fatal injury.
- Burn injuries – Burn injuries can be especially shocking and painful for a young child. Second-degree burn injuries have been reported when the ambient temperature was as low as 74 degrees. Furthermore, plastic slides, swings, and equipment can cause burns that are just as severe as metal ones. Nearby asphalt or dark colored play equipment increases the burn injury risk.
- Climbing equipment on hard surfaces – No playground equipment should ever be placed on hard surfaces whether indoors or outdoors. This includes even the small plastic climbing sets that are popular with toddlers and small children. Carpeting typically does not provide enough padding to prevent traumatic brain injuries or broken bones.
- Dangerous hardware – While a playground may be initially safe, wear and tear or vandalism can strip away certain components resulting in dangers like protruding bolt ends, open “S” hooks, or missing equipment. These dangers can lead to severe lacerations or falls.
- Lead paint on playground equipment – Although the CPSC has banned the use of lead paint on playground equipment since 1978, it is still present on some older equipment. The CPSC has found lead paint in use in excess of the CPSC’s standards in 11 cities on 16 separate playgrounds. While all individuals can be affected, the risk is greatest for those under 6 years of age. Defects like these can result in serious injury or death.
These are unfortunately but a few of the risks parents and guardians should be wary of. Many other risks and circumstances can lead to a minor or serious childhood injury.
If your child has been seriously injured to due dangerous playground equipment at a park or at home, you may be able to obtain compensation. For your free and confidential playground injury consultation, call the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak at (479) 316-0438 or contact us online.
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