Playground accidents are one of the leading causes of injury to children in elementary school. Each year, in the United States, more than 200,000 children receive emergency department care for injuries that occurred on playground equipment. Approximately 1 out of every 2 playground accidents occurs on public playgrounds, including school facilities, as opposed to backyard play equipment.
The leading cause of deaths related to playgrounds and playground equipment is strangulation. Approximately, 15 children per year die from playground-related injuries such as strangulation when a piece of loose clothing or jewelry gets caught on equipment or the child’s head gets stuck between climbing bars. Fractures from falls are also common.
- Adults should actively supervise children on playgrounds at all times.
- The ground should be covered 12 inches deep with shredded rubber, hardwood fiber mulch or fine sand, extending at least six feet in all directions around the equipment.
- Even with proper surfacing, teachers and playground monitors need to keep kids in sight and in reach on the playground. Simply being in the same place as the children isn’t necessarily supervising — kids on a playground need an adult’s undivided attention.
- For outdoor play, children’s clothing and outerwear should be free of drawstrings and should fit snugly to minimize the risk of getting stuck in a piece of equipment. Do not allow kids to wear helmets, necklaces, purses or scarves on the playground or engage in any pushing, shoving or crowding around playground equipment.
- Before your child goes back to school, you might want to take a look at the school playground and, if necessary, discuss the Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines with school authorities.
(Source: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta)