By John Romano, a member of The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), at least 200,000 children age 14 or younger are treated in emergency rooms each year for playground-related injuries. More than 10 percent of these are traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and the rate of TBIs is rising.
Because public playgrounds are numerous and easily accessible, most kids spend their time on these rather than private playgrounds. Thus, the largest percentage of playground injuries take place on public facilities. Monkey bars and climbing equipment are responsible for the highest number of injuries.
But despite the risks, we know kids love playgrounds and benefit from the exercise and social interaction. The good news: Adults can play a key role in keeping kids safe on their favorite playgrounds with these tips and resources:
Here are four top risks that cause playground injuries. Click for full size.
To ensure your local playground is safe, the National Recreations and Parks Association has a network of Certified Playground Safety Inspectors (CPSI). The CPSI certification program provides comprehensive and up-to-date training on playground safety issues, including hazard identification, equipment specifications, surfacing requirements and risk management methods. Find your local CPSI here.
You can also view a thorough playground safety checklist and ranking tool, created by the National Program for Playground Safety. If you see safety hazards or poorly maintained equipment, reach out to the owner as soon as possible. In most cases, this will be a school or park district.
Keeping our kids safe while out on the playground is an issue we can all get behind, and one that benefits the community as a whole. So let’s all get out there and have some fun!