Preventing Houston Playground Injuries

by Terry Bryant

 

playground safety danger

Is Your Child’s Playground Safe?

Government statistics indicate that well over 200,000 children age 14 and under wind up having to go to emergency rooms each year due to serious injuries suffered on public and private playgrounds. About 75% of those injures are related to falls. Kids are always at greatest risk when they land on hard surfaces – that’s when they are most like to incur traumatic brain injuries or other long-term injuries or death.

The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says that one seven-year study documented 40 children’s deaths caused by playground injuries. Roughly 68% of those young people died as a result of asphyxiation or hanging. Such devastating injuries and deaths clearly indicate that all adults must provide highly focused monitoring of kids playing outdoors.

The following list of possible injuries may grow over time since new playground equipment hits the market every year.

Kids Often Suffer from These Playground Injuries

  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Deep bruises and severe cuts
  • Serious and often permanent eye damage
  • The loss of fingers or toes – and other types of disfigurement
  • Crushing injuries to many parts of the body
  • Life-threatening blood loss – especially after major falls
  • Far too often, children die on playgrounds — or shortly after reaching hospitals

What Can Families and Schools Do to Improve Playground Safety?

  • Choose the best playground surfaces. Do all you can to help “soften” a child’s fall. Look for playground surface materials like sand, shredded rubber, mulch or even special loose-filled wood chips. Avoid letting your kids ever play on surfaces that include big tree stumps, loose rocks, gravel and uncovered holes of any size;
  • Remind kids never to bully each other while playing. Simple pushing and shoving can easily cause catastrophic falls;
  • Only let your kids play on small and sturdy swing sets. Never let children get into swings that let them pump so hard they can easily fly out of their seats and seriously harm themselves;
  • Just let your children play with others close to their age. Older kids may not want to injure your child seriously – but they may still cause dangerous injuries when they forget how much more they weigh when playing too rough with others;
  • Never let children play on rusty play equipment. Likewise, check to be sure all playground equipment is free of any sharp edges;
  • Encourage the use of all handrails and guardrails. Tell your children that using these items can often help them avoid falling off equipment;
  • Try always to have two adults monitor kids on any playground. This comes in very handy whenever a child is severely One adult can call for help while the other one can gather the kids together and tend to the afflicted child;
  • Keep a fully-charged cell phone on you at all times – for emergency purposes only. Never visit with friends or indoor co-workers while you’re supposed to be supervising children playing;
  • Obtain at least one official playground safety inspection each year. While this mainly applies to school and public playgrounds – it would be very wise to have all of your backyard play equipment inspected each year, too.

Careful adult supervision is the key to playground safety – along with well-made equipment and proper surface materials. Hopefully, adults will work together to keep playgrounds so safe that they will always be a part of our children’s happiest memories.