Playgrounds and parks are great places for children to get outside, play, and exercise. While skinned knees and bruised elbows are commonplace, more serious injuries are possible—especially when negligence is involved. Poorly maintained equipment, broken parts, shattered glass, inadequate supervision, or aggressive playmates can cause injuries that require emergency care.
There are a number of steps you and your child can take to avoid injuries. For example, they should only play on equipment that’s positioned over wood chips, rubber surfacing, or sand. Falling on concrete, blacktop, or grass is more likely to result in severe injuries. As a parent or guardian, it’s important to look for small spaces where your child’s head could get stuck, ensure they don’t attach jump ropes or other ropes to playground equipment, and look for places they might trip and fall.
Even when you take precautions, injuries are still possible. Understanding the most common park and playground injuries and how they happen can help you avoid potentially dangerous situations.
How Common Are Playground-Related Injuries?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), emergency rooms across the country treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries. Children ages five to nine have higher rates of emergency department visits than any other age group. While any child is at risk for injury, girls get hurt slightly more often than boys.
While the majority of injuries aren’t serious, 45% are severe fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations, and amputations. Fortunately, children’s bones are more flexible so it’s likely they’ll heal fairly quickly. With head injuries, common side effects include dizziness, headaches, sensitivity to light or sound, and irritability. When a dislocation happens, it’s best to have it set by a doctor. Common signs that a joint is out of place include redness or swelling, difficulty moving the joint, or the area being warm to the touch.
While fatalities are rare, they do happen. Between 1990 and 2000, 147 children died from park injuries related to strangulation and falls. While the majority of injuries occur on school playgrounds, most fatalities happen on home playgrounds. At school, children are most at risk when they’re using climbing equipment. At home, however, the swings are responsible for most injuries.
How Premises Liability Relates to Park Injuries
The majority of park injuries happen as a result of a lack of supervision. Young children may engage in risky behaviors when they’re not being properly monitored. When a child is playing on a playground at school or a daycare center, parents expect a certain level of care from the facility’s staff members. Employees who neglect their duties may fail to take appropriate action in the event of an emergency. Typical accidents include climbing too high, getting a limb stuck in equipment, misusing equipment, or running into the road.
Other park and playground injuries result from facilities that have defective equipment or are poorly maintained. Loose nails, rotting wood, and rust equipment can easily lead to harm. Manufacturers and distributors are supposed to ensure the products they release are safe for the public to use. The owner of a property is responsible for maintaining the structures. Example of accidents resulting from inadequate care includes falls from swings with defective chains, spaces large enough for a child’s head to get stuck, abrasions or puncture wounds from nails or screws, platforms and ramps without proper guardrails, and equipment with dangerous strings or ropes.
Some playground injuries can lead to a legal claim. To determine if someone is legally liable for a park injury, the first step is typically finding out who owns it. The owner could be a school, city, county, private organization, or local non-profit. Then, you’ll need to determine how the injury happened. If inadequate maintenance or poor supervision was the source, you can seek compensation from the owner. If, however, the playground equipment was defective, the manufacturer or builder might be responsible.
It’s best to work with a skilled legal team when filing a claim. This will improve your chances of receiving the compensation you’re owed and holding the negligent party accountable.
Help Your Family Recover
If your child suffered a park or playground injury and you believe it resulted from another party’s negligence, you can file a premises liability claim. With the help of our lawyers, you can seek compensation to cover the accident-related expenses and ensure your child gets the care they need to recover and get back to playing. For more information on how we help personal injury victims, get in touch with our office today.