Playground Safety Study Released

In the United States each year, emergency rooms treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and under for playground-related injuries. About 45% of those injuries are considered severe including internal injuries, fractures, concussions, dislocations and amputations. Approximately 75% of nonfatal injuries related to playground equipment take place on public playgrounds, and most of those are at schools and daycare centers. In a ten-year period (1990-2000), a startling 147 children in that same age group died from playground-related injuries. Of those deaths, 82% were from strangulation and 31% were from falls.

According to a new study by Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, injuries due to falls from playground equipment result in a higher number of severe injuries than either bicycle or motor vehicle crashes. Injuries can result from poorly designed or defective playground equipment , falls from heights onto hard surfaces, falling onto glass or other dangerous debris, or the playground owner's failure to supervise or protect children from foreseeable accidents resulting from the misuse of playground equipment.

While all children who use public playgrounds are at risk for injury, girls sustain injuries slightly more often than boys, and children ages 5-9 have higher rates of emergency room visits for injuries than any other age group. A study in New York City found that playgrounds in low-income areas had more maintenance-related hazards than playgrounds in high-income areas. The low income playgrounds had more trash, rusty play equipment and damaged fall surfaces.