When we think back to our own childhoods, some of the most fun times many of us had were on a playground. We probably didn’t realize it then, but those exhilarating slides, step ladders, swings, and monkey bars are the source of over 200,000 injuries each year in the United States.
So, what does this mean for parents now? A lot. More than half of all playground injuries happen on public playgrounds, whether it be at a daycare, school, or local park. Some of these injuries include severe fractures, internal injuries, concussions, and more — they may be even more dangerous than some motor vehicle or bicycle collisions.
While some children get hurt on a playground and there is no one at fault, in other instances, you may have a legal claim to recover damages.
Let’s take a deeper look into Ohio’s playground injury statistics, what types of injuries can occur on a playground, and how you can seek compensation for your child’s injury.
Ohio Playground Accident Statistics
While the Ohio Department of Health doesn’t track playground injuries across the state — and likely many go unreported — the agency, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has published research regarding playground injuries.
Consider some of the following facts:
- More than two-thirds of playground injuries involve falls or equipment failure;
- Eight percent of playground injuries are related to hazards near the equipment but not related to it;
- Seven percent of playground injuries are due to collisions with equipment or other children, while another 7% are related to entrapment.
Climbers are the most common piece of playground equipment that can cause injuries, at 23% of injuries reported. Swings are the next most common (though more dangerous on home playgrounds than climbers), at 22% of injuries, with slides at 17% and overhead ladders at 9%.
While many people might assume boys have a greater risk of injury on playgrounds, it’s actually girls. Female children sustain injuries in about 55% of all incidents. Children ages 5 to 9 also have higher rates of being injured than other age groups, up to age 14.
Types of Ohio Playground Injuries
The most common type of playground injury is a fracture, which occurs in one-third of cases. Additionally, the following injuries can occur:
- Contusions or abrasions;
- Strains and sprains;
- Internal bleeding or damage to organs; and
Over a 10-year period, nearly 150 children ages 14 and younger died from playground-related injuries in the U.S. More than half died from strangulation (e.g., head entrapment or clothing getting caught in equipment), while 20% died from falls. The majority of these deaths occurred on a home playground.
Many playground structures also do not meet current standards, so the problem is only getting worse with few interventions proposed.
How to Avoid Playground Injuries
Health agencies suggest the S.A.F.E. model to avoid playground accidents, which stands for:
- Age-appropriate design;
- Fall surfacing; and
- Equipment maintenance.
Things like trash, rusty equipment, or damaged fall surfaces could spell danger for your child when he or she is playing on a playground. Whether you are taking your child to a public playground or a playground at another person’s home, always look around to see what sort of shape the equipment is in and how well the ground is kept below the playground. It’s important to watch your child at any type of playground and be sure he or she isn’t attempting to play on a slide, ladder, or other piece of equipment that may be too big or dangerous for their age.
While the most serious injuries on playgrounds are related to the height of the equipment, there isn’t a consensus generally on what is a safe height, according to a study in the journal Injury Prevention. However, an unsafe height for a piece of playground equipment is generally between about 5 feet and 13 feet, so be sure to review the play set before letting your child play on it.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission also has a lengthy handbook on public playground safety that you can check out here for more tips.
Getting Help if Your Child Has Been Injured on a Playground
If your child has been injured on a playground, either at school or on someone else’s property, you may be able to seek compensation for his or her injuries. Perhaps the injury occurred on a piece of broken equipment, which was either due to the fault of the manufacturer (such as in a defective products claim) or the person responsible for maintaining that equipment (such as in a premises liability claim). A good personal injury attorney will be able to assess your claim and determine if you have a case.
Contact Plevin & Gallucci today for a free consultation. We can help make sure you and your family don’t foot the bill for an injury that was due to someone else’s negligence.