Playground Safety: Is The Surface Putting Your Child At Risk?
With warmer weather upon us, children are happy to once again to be able to play outdoors at their favorite parks and recreational facilities. We all have fond memories of playing on the swings or monkey bars at a neighbor’s house or our favorite park, and many of us also have stories about scrapes, scars, or broken bones that came from these adventures. While playgrounds today are designed with an eye towards safety, accidental injuries continue to occur and controversy surrounds the use of certain materials used in playgrounds to prevent these very injuries. The following is the latest information you need to know about playground safety, as well as how playground designers could be putting your child at risk.
According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 200,000 children under the age of 14 require hospital emergency room care for injuries sustained while playing on playgrounds each year. The CDC reports that injuries common in playground accidents can be severe and include the following:
- Severe cuts and lacerations
- Bone fractures.
- Dislocated joints
- Muscle strains, sprains, and tears
- Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries
In addition to the above, suffocation and limb amputations are among the most serious and devastating effects that can result from playground falls and mishaps.
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Controversy Over Playground Surfaces
In addition to injuries sustained from falls or being cut or struck by playground equipment and parts, concerns over playground materials have raised controversy. To prevent injuries, it is important to use proper playground surface materials to provide cushioning for when falls and trips occur. According to a report on playground safety from the National Center for Health Research (NCHR), play surfaces made from tires could pose potential risks when it comes to exposing children to toxic chemicals. While using shredded tires and tire chips has gained popularity for providing a good form of cushioning to prevent broken bones and injuries, while also being good for the environment by preventing old tires from cluttering landfills, studies indicate the chemicals found in recycled tires could pose a risk for the development of certain types of childhood cancer. In addition to the chemical risks, the NCHR cites studies showing tire materials often failed to meet state safety standards for protecting children against head injuries. To protect your child against playground accidents and injuries, follow these tips for playground safety from the Consumer Public Safety Commission:
- Make sure playground surfaces have at least 12 inches of wood chips, sand, or mulch for cushioning.
- Check to ensure any rubber mats or padding is made of safe materials.
- Protective surfacing should extend six feet in all directions around playground equipment.
- Check for dangerous hardware that could cause injuries, including bolts and S shaped hooks.
- Make sure all equipment is free of harsh or jagged edges.
- Make sure there are no trip hazards, such as uneven surfaces or protruding beams.
Let Us Assist You Today
If your child has suffered injuries due to faulty or dangerous playground equipment, contact Anastopoulo Law Firm. Our experienced South Carolina personal injury attorneys can advise you on the best course of action in your particular case, while assisting you in getting the compensation your child needs to recover from their injuries. With offices in Charleston and throughout South Carolina, we can help you; call or contact us online today for a free review of your case.