Is Your Child Safe on the Playground?
Most children would love to spend hours every day on the local playground. But are they safe? The startling fact of the matter is, over 200,000 children are hospitalized due to playground injuries every year across this country. While some injuries are simply unavoidable accidents, others may be due to poor playground construction, design, or maintenance. If your child has been injured due to one of these factors, a local personal injury attorney may be able to help you collect damages associated with the incident.
Florida has adopted Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and ASTM International regulations related to playground safety standards in order to provide safe play areas for children. The standards apply to public playgrounds including at parks, churches, and schools, and specify rules that apply to everything from infant swings to playground surfaces and fencing.
Common Safety Issues
Common hazards that occur on playgrounds have been ranked by frequency by the CPSC, and include:
Falling: Falls are inevitable on any playground, but the surface beneath equipment can have a radical impact on the seriousness of injuries sustained due to a fall. In particular, when daycare or other facilities put play equipment indoors, even carpeting is not a soft enough surface to protect youngsters from sobering injuries. Certainly wood, tile, and laminate flooring is even worse. Instead, equipment should be placed outside, with sand, mulch, or soft rubber surfacing to protect children from serious injuries such as concussions and broken bones.
Equipment issues: When playgrounds are improperly assembled, the chances of breaks leaving sharp edges or wide gaps increase. Other issues associated with equipment include thermal burns. The hard plastic and rubber is not unlike metal when exposed to direct sunlight, and they can become very hot. Surprisingly, even in relatively low temperatures in the 70’s, slides, swings, and other equipment can lead to burns if the equipment is in the sun.
Becoming entrapped: Drawstrings on children’s clothing has been caught up in playground equipment that is not properly maintained, leading to choking and entrapment hazards. Another problem that can lead to entrapment is when cargo climbing netting has openings that are large enough for children to become entangled.
Something many parents never think about is the dangers lurking in the materials from which older playground equipment is constructed. Wood playgrounds that were built prior to 2004 may have been treated with CCA—Chromated Copper Arsenate. The name of the treatment is scary enough, and the fact that the chemicals have the potential to leach makes the wood and the surface areas around them highly suspect. Skin and clothing exposed to these chemicals should be washed with soap and water immediately.
Children should be treated with utmost care in our society. When the design, materials, or maintenance of a children’s area is unsafe, those responsible should be held to account. At the Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A., our Kissimmee premises liability attorneys take children’s safety very seriously. If your child has been harmed because of inexplicable playground safety issues, let our team help. Schedule a free, confidential consultation in our office today.