It may seem absurd that a place intended for children to play and have fun is also a common place for children to be injured. Although playgrounds are supposed to be extra safe, because of the age group of the people they are designed for, serious accidents do occur.
CBC News Canada declared that, “More than 28,000 children are injured every year on playgrounds across Canada, and the rate of hospitalizations has gone up by eight per cent between 2007 and 2012.”
Before you allow your children to play at a new playground, you should always inspect the area to ensure that the facilities look safe and well-maintained.
Although there are standards in place for playgrounds to lessen the chances of accidents, there are many that do not comply with the law. The main standards for playgrounds deal with surface material, structure and the safety features of the equipment.
Causes of Injuries
Some of the most common causes of playground injuries include:
- Incorrect surface material
- Faulty or unsafe equipment structure
- Improper supervision
Playground surfaces are vital to the general safety of the playground since the majority of injuries that happen at playgrounds are due to children falling off the equipment.
The playground’s surface should be soft, approximately 12 inches deep and must surround the equipment on all sides at least out to 6 feet. Some of the best materials used for the surfaces include sand or shredded rubber. Materials such as concrete, gravel, dirt and grass are unsafe for playgrounds.
The structure of the playground is also very critical, especially when it comes to maintaining and cleaning it. The structure of the playground can determine how often maintenance must be conducted and what you should be on the lookout for.
For example, if the playground has a wooden structure, then one would have to ensure that there are no splinters, or pieces of chipped wood sticking out. The care takers should also ensure that rot or rust has not undermined the strength or safety of any part of the structure.
Playgrounds should be checked regularly for dangerous objects lying around including broken or loose parts of the equipment. All steps in the playground should be intact and swing seats should be made of soft material and should be a certain distance from each other to avoid children bumping into each other.
Improper supervision is a major cause of playground injuries. Sometimes guardians, supervisors, teachers or parents do not pay attention to the children they are supposed to be supervising. In some cases, teachers are not fully attentive to the children and, because of their negligence, serious injuries occur.
Accidents also happen when adult supervisors fail to create awareness among the children under their care concerning the hazards of a certain behavior on the playground. When children are seen doing dangerous things, the adult responsible for supervising them must caution them because children tend to see certain risky behavior as fun and playful.
Because children don’t always know what’s safe and what isn’t, supervision at playgrounds is very critical to safe play. School playgrounds, for instance, should be constantly monitored during recess breaks. Children should never be on a playground without adult supervision.
Common Types of Playground Injuries
Some of the common playground injuries include:
Children can attain any of the above injuries by falling off faulty equipment, falling on a hard or rough surface causing them to bump their head etc. Children also get injured when they use equipment for a specific age, height or weight that does not comply with them.
Quite often, children also get deep wound injuries by stepping on nails that have fallen out of the equipment or dangerous objects sticking out of the ground or the equipment. Although playground deaths are rare, serious accidents can lead to fatalities.
All of these injuries can have serious implications on the life of a child. In some cases children can become permanently disabled, mentally challenged or end up with self esteem issues due to scars resulting from an accident. Apart from the health struggles of the injured child, parents or guardians are faced with high medical costs, which sometimes can cause financial instability in a family.
Who is to Blame?
Although injuries at play grounds are common, when an injury is at the fault of someone other than yourself, you have the right to file for a personal injury claim.
If your child gets injured on a school playground, then the absence or the inattentiveness of the teacher responsible for supervising is to blame. Whether the person was directly or indirectly the cause, you are entitled to be compensated.
If the accident was because of poor maintenance of the premises, improper supervision at school playground, or faulty equipment or structure, the party responsible for the playground is liable for injuries that occurred.
If your child is under the age of 18 and was injured or died because of a playground injury, due to the negligence of someone else, then you have the right to file a suit on their behalf. Contact us at Rastin & Associates so we can ensure that you get the justice you deserve.