April 21 to 25 is National Playground Safety Week. This safety observance is sponsored by the National Program for Playground Safety, based in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The purpose of Playground Safety Week is to improve awareness of public playground-related injuries.
Most Iowa parents assume that the playground where their children play is a pretty safe place. They loosely keep an eye on the kids while they chat with neighbors or check email on their smartphone. What these parents don’t know is that each year more than 200,000 children are injured on playgrounds. Twenty thousand of these injuries are serious enough to require hospitalization; 17 result in death.
Causes of Playground Injuries
There are three main causes of playground injuries:
- Unsafe playground design
- Inadequate maintenance
- Inadequate supervision
Five Signs That a Playground Is Unsafe
- Playground equipment is surrounded by dirt, grass, asphalt or concrete. These surfaces don’t have shock-absorbing properties like sand, pea gravel, wood chips, mulch, rubber, or synthetic turf.
- The shock-absorbent surfacing is very shallow and is located only under the play structures. In order to be safe, shock-absorbent surfacing like wood chips should be at least 12 inches deep and extend at least six feet in all directions around a play structure.
- Big children and little children are sharing the same playground equipment and play area. It is safer to have a separate playground for children under five.
- The park does not have age-appropriate playground equipment.
- The playground has broken or damaged play structures.
Don’t allow your children to play at a playground that is unsafe. Report any dangerous conditions to the organization responsible for playground maintenance.
If your child is injured on a dangerous playground, the government entity or business responsible for maintaining the playground may be held liable for his injuries. Contact a personal injury attorney in Cedar Rapids to learn if you have a case. Hupy and Abraham offers free consultations. Call 800-800-5678 to schedule your appointment.