Philadelphia Playground Injury Lawyer
Accidents and injuries can occur at any playground at school, in a park or anywhere else where this equipment is set up for children to play on. The maintenance and safety of these structures falls on the responsibility of whoever owns it, even if it is a school district or city.
As a parent, you want to make sure that every playground that your child hangs from the monkey bars or slides down the slide on are safe to play. However, there are many subtle dangers present on playgrounds that are hard to detect unless you are an expert on the design of these structures.
Many people believe that they assume the risk of injury when a child falls on a playground. The truth is, many Playgrounds contain many hidden dangers which a reasonable parent would not detect. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
- About 75% of nonfatal injuries related to playground equipment occur on public playgrounds (Tinsworth 2001). Most occur at schools and daycare centers (Phelan 2001).
- About 45% of playground-related injuries are severe-fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations, and amputations (Tinsworth 2001).
- Between 1990 and 2000, 147 children ages 14 and younger died from playground-related injuries. Of them, 82 (56%) died from strangulation and 31 (20%) died from falls to the playground surface. Most of these deaths (70%) occurred on home playgrounds (Tinsworth 2001).
The hidden dangers a parent or guardian should be aware of according to the national Playground Safety Institute are (these are also known as the dirty dozen hidden defects):
- Inadequate use zone – a use zone according to the NPSI is the area under and around playground equipment where a child might fall.
- Improper protective surfacing – most surfaces must be loose fill and measure 12 inches in depth with the loose fill. This must be absent standing water or other debris.
- Entrapment in openings – this is an opening where a child could get their head or limb caught.
- Protrusion and entanglement hazards – things that can cut a child or choke a child.
- Insufficient equipment spacing – this can cause injuries due to overcrowding.
- Trip hazards – exposed footings and abrupt changes in surface elevations.
- Lack of supervision – this is the parents’, caretakers’, or guardians’ job, and they must supervise their children at all times.
- Lack of maintenance – a program of systematic preventative maintenance must be in place.
- Crush, shearing, and sharp edge hazards – routine inspections are mandatory for this on a daily basis.
- Platforms with no guardrails – guardrails are needed for children who do not have the best balancing skills yet. Again, parents keep this in mind when supervising.
- Age-inappropriate activities- this is where someone who should not be on a Playground with younger children and injuries occur because of their presence and activities on the same attractions as the young children.
- Equipment not recommended for public playgrounds – according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) – heavy swings, multiple occupancy swings, and ropes are not recommended.
Parents need to keep a close lookout for their children when going to a Playground. The following is a checklist of things you should take notice of, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC):
- Make sure surfaces around playground equipment have at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand, or pea gravel, or are mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials.
- Check that protective surfacing extends at least 6 feet in all directions from play equipment. For swings, be sure surfacing extends, in back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar.
- Make sure play structures over than 30 inches high are spaced at least 9 feet apart.
- Check for dangerous hardware, like open “S” hooks or protruding bolt ends.
- Make sure spaces that could trap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs, measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.
- Check for sharp points or edges in equipment.
- Look out for tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.
- Make sure elevated surfaces, like platforms and ramps, have guardrails to prevent falls.
- Check playgrounds regularly to be sure that equipment and surfacing are in good condition.
- Carefully supervise children on playgrounds to make sure they’re safe.
At The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C., our personal injury attorneys and staff have years of experience handling children’s injuries. Playground Injuries can be serious, and experts are needed to prove a case against private owners, public owners, private schools, and public schools. If you or a loved one sustained a serious injury as a result of a playground incident, please, call our office for a free consultation. We can help you to preserve the evidence and record your experience.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.