Playgrounds are the mecca of childhood – a welcome respite from the everyday rigors of walking in single-file lines, sitting still in classrooms and listening intently to teachers and parents. But playgrounds can also be the site of serious injuries – and sometimes even fatalities. In many cases, playground injuries are the direct result of the property owner’s failure to maintain the equipment or general site.
At The Ansara Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale playground injury lawyers fight for justice for the innocent children injured or killed by defective or dangerous playground equipment.
According to the Children’s Safety Network, a project supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 220,00 playground-related injuries are treated in hospital emergency departments every year. Approximately 15 children die annually from playground-related injuries.
The most common playground injuries are:
- Falls – 44 percent. This includes falls from, into or onto the equipment.
- Equipment-related – 23 percent. This includes breakage, tip over, poor design or assembly.
- Incidental – 8 percent. These are hazards not necessarily related to the equipment.
- Collision – 7 percent. This involves running into either other children or equipment.
- Entrapment – 7 percent.
- Other – 11 percent.
Children playing on surfaces that are impact-absorbing, such as bark, chips or rubber matting, are less than half as likely to be injured than those playing on a non-impact absorbing surface, such as asphalt, concrete, grass or dirt.
Researchers have also concluded that certain types of equipment is more hazardous than others in terms of the injuries that result. From 2001 to 2008, those that ranked the most dangerous were:
- Monkey Bars/ Playground Gyms. 644,932 injuries, 36 percent of total.
- Swings or Swing Sets. 504,334 injuries, 28 percent of the total.
- Slides or Sliding Boards. 366,189 injuries, 21 percent of the total.
- Not Specified. 148,111 injuries, 8 percent of the total.
- Other Playground Equipment. 88,034 injuries, 5 percent of the total.
- Seesaws/ Teeter Totters. 41,094 injuries, 2 percent of the total.
As far as the injuries sustained on this equipment, it ranges depending on the equipment, but the most common injuries included:
- Fractures – 36 percent.
- Contusions/ Abrasions – 20 percent.
- Lacerations – 17 percent.
- Strains/ Sprains – 12 percent.
- Internal Organ Injuries – 5 percent.
There is also the potential for concussions, dislocations and amputations.Children Most Likely to be Injured
Although children of any age may suffer playground injuries in Florida, those between the ages of 5 to 9 are the most likely victims. This cohort is most likely to be actively playing on the equipment, and often are not as closely supervised as younger children.
- Ages 0 to 4 – 25 percent of those injured
- Ages 5 to 9 – 53 percent of those injured
- Ages 10 to 14 – 15 percent of those injured
- 15+ – 7 percent of those injured
Children between the ages of 5 and 9 were more likely to suffer arm and leg injuries, while children younger than 5 were more likely to suffer some type of head injury.
A 2007 study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission looked at playground injuries and deaths involving children under 2 and revealed head and facial injuries accounted for 53 percent of all injuries to children in this cohort. Nineteen percent of those were considered severe.
Common scenarios for kids in this age group were:
- Falling (50 percent of all injuries). The lowest height was 1 inch, the highest was 10 feet.
- Impact (22 percent of all injuries). These involved colliding with or being struck by playground equipment.
- Leg or foot twisted on slide (13 percent of all injuries). These cases often resulted in sprains or fractures.
- Entrapments (270 total injuries).
Approximately 75 percent of non-fatal injuries occur on public playgrounds, according to the CPSC The majority of those happen at schools and day care centers.
Collectively, there are about 600 playground injuries that occur every day that results in a child end up in the emergency room. When schools, day cares, cities or other entities fail to use proper care, they can be held liable for these incidents. Injury lawsuits may stem from assertions of:
- Failure to ensure children are using age-appropriate equipment.
- Failure to provide proper supervision.
- Failure to ensure suitable playground safety surfaces match the needs of the equipment/ children.
- Failure to maintain, replace or remove equipment that is broken, loose or defective.
If your child is injured in a playground accident due to faulty/ defective equipment, our Broward injury lawyers can help.
Call the injury attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm at (877) 277-3780 or locally in Broward at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties.