NYC accident lawyer discusses Keeping New York Children’s Playgrounds Safe
As New York kids head back to school again, parents are busy searching for the best teachers and academic opportunities available. Yet in the midst of these important tasks, they must also check on the safety of their children’s playgrounds. Current New York statistics indicate that on most days, 16 children require hospital treatment for playground injuries. Furthermore, at least one of these kids is so seriously hurt that full hospitalization is required.
Fortunately, the New York State Department of Health, the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) keep reviewing new playground studies so they can develop updated safety guidelines.
Here’s a more in-depth look at some of the biggest playground safety challenges, along with some steps we can take to more readily reduce these unnecessary injuries.
Current Facts/Statistics Regarding Dangerous Playground Conditions
- Too many kids suffer serious playground injuries each year. About two hundred thousand (200,000) American children require emergency room treatment each year due to injuries sustained on playgrounds. In addition, the CDC says that roughly 45% of these playground injuries are severe and include fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations, and amputations;
- Basic playground equipment is often still the most dangerous. Various studies keep indicating that simple swings, monkey bars, and climbing equipment are often involved most kids’ serious injuries;
- Rough play often leads to playground accidents. Parents, teachers and other adults must regularly remind children that pushing and shoving are never allowed while playing outdoors. Too many kids sustain their worst playground injuries due to rough play that causes them to lose their balance and fall to the ground;
- Children must only visit playgrounds intended for kids in their age range. Far too often, smaller children suffer critical injuries on equipment built for much older kids. Make sure your schools and community parks clearly indicate which playgrounds are intended for children of different age groups. Parents should also visit the homes of their children’s closest friends to make sure all of the available playground equipment is safe enough for their kids. Always exchange promises with other parents to fully supervise all outdoor play;
- Check out playground surfaces first since proper ones can greatly limit any potential injuries. As discussed in more detail below, special surfaces made of shredded rubber and other substances can often help to “break” or soften a child’s fall and decrease injuries;
- Make sure each playground is fully fenced in to protect kids. Serious injuries can greatly increase when stray dogs, older kids — and even unidentified adults — are free to roam across playgrounds only intended for young children.
Here are some additional suggestions for keeping your kids safe while they use different outdoor play areas.
Useful Safety Guidelines for All New York Playgrounds
- Always select age-appropriate playground equipment for your children. Kids are far less likely to suffer serious falls when you do this. Likewise, find out how often each playground receives proper maintenance. Rusty equipment and structures with missing bolts can quickly lead to excessive injuries;
- Make sure the best playground surface material is currently in use. You want a substance that helps soften a child’s fall from any height. This usually requires covering a school playground with sand, shredded rubber, mulch or specially designed wood chips. Gravel and dirt mixtures containing broken rocks are never acceptable;
- Constant adult supervision is crucial. Try to have at least two adults watching any group of playing children. Should an emergency develop, one can use an available cell phone to call for help while the other can gather the other kids together and take them back inside;
- Make sure your kids where proper play clothes and closed shoes. It’s always best if children where tennis shoes and loosely fitting clothes. Finally, discourage all kids from wearing any clothes with drawstrings since they can lead to accidental strangulation on certain pieces of play equipment.