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What Parents Need to Know About Playground Injuries

One of the easiest ways to keep young children entertained is to visit a playground. They can climb, slide, swing, run and do it all with other kids from the neighborhood or with classmates at daycare or school.
Inevitably an injury of some sort will occur. Kids fall, bump their heads or scrape their knees often on a playground. Two children may also be playing together. One child bumps into the other, and the next thing you know, one of them is injured.
Parents can expect to see minor injuries such as scrapes and bruises, sometimes parents overlook these minor injuries because they occur on accident. A child may be climbing on the playground and fall at no fault of another person.
For more serious injuries, some common types that occur on a playground include:
Broken bones
Internal injuries
Roughly 45% of playground injuries are severe and include internal injuries, dislocation, fractures or concussions. Over the course of a ten-year period, 14 children died per year on the playground, with over 50% due to strangulation. The majority of fatalities occur at home playgrounds where swings cause the most injuries.

Who is at Risk for Most Playground Injuries?

Every year, over 200,000 children under the age of 14 will go to the emergency room due to playground injuries. Girls sustain 55% of the injuries, while boys sustain 45% of injuries. The younger the age group, the more injuries tend to occur.
Children between the age of 5 and 9 suffer the most playground injuries.
Schools are where most injuries occur, but playground injuries can occur at any playground. Climbers are where the most injuries will happen. Kids will try to climb the equipment, and they’ll fall and injure themselves in the process.
Statistically, low-income areas that have playgrounds have a higher risk of injury. One study from New York City found that the playgrounds in low-income areas were not maintained to the same degree as playgrounds in high-income areas.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Injuries?

Liability for the injuries can be difficult to pinpoint. An at-home playground may have a defect that would allow parents to sue for product liability. A daycare or school may be held liable for the injuries if it was found that:
Supervision was not adequate
Equipment was broken or not properly maintained
A third-party may be held liable if the playground was not installed properly.
In essence, there are four parties that are often responsible for the injuries:
Owner - Whether it be a daycare or school
Manufacturer - Who may have known of a defect or supplied a dangerous product
Contractor – The person that installed or was responsible for maintaining the playground
Caretakers Teachers or anyone that was responsible for watching the child
Parents may have a difficult time ascertaining who to sue for damages. If the injuries occurred at a public school or a city playground, the law may not allow for a lawsuit against the government. 
Private schools, on the other hand, do not benefit from this type of immunity and can still be sued for damages.
The parents of the child may be able to seek damages in a premises liability case or a personal injury case. An attorney will have to make sure that the injuries occurred meet the definition of premises liability or personal injury.

What Can Parents Do to Reduce Injury Risks?

Parents can do a lot to reduce their child’s risk of injury on the playground. Teaching children how to be safe and encouraging children not to play rough on the playground can help. If a child is going to a school or daycare, the parent should:
Tour the facility
Tour the playground
Since neighborhood playgrounds are often immune to the risk of a lawsuit, it’s important for a parent to browse these areas, too. You should check to make sure that all of the equipment is sturdy and doesn’t contain any cracks or breaks that may make the equipment unsafe.
If a home playground exists, it’s up to the parent to ensure that the playground is installed properly and that proper maintenance is performed on all equipment. 
Since swings are responsible for most serious and deadly injuries when using a home playground, it’s important to always supervise a child when they’re on the swings. Unfortunately, there is a risk of strangulation on swings, so you’ll want to teach your child how to swing properly and the best ways to avoid being tangled in the swing’s chains.

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