According to a report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), from 2009 – 2014, nearly 1.5 million injuries related to playground equipment were treated in emergency departments — that’s approximately 243,000 ER visits annually. More than half of those who were taken to the ER were between 5 – 9 years old. According to this report, the majority of playground fatalities were due to hanging/asphyxiation. As concerns injuries, the majority were fractures and contusions/abrasions with monkey bars and swings accounting for 1/5 of the injuries.
The CPSC has published a series of guidelines concerning playground safety and recommends the following:
- Be vigilant. Children should always be supervised when playing on public playgrounds or play sets at home. Be certain the child is playing on age-appropriate equipment and that there aren’t dangerous conditions such as sharp edges, etc.
- Check for hot surfaces. Playground equipment can be deceptively hot. If the equipment is too hot for your hand, then it’s too hot for the child.
- Avoid strangling hazards. Do not attach leashes, ropes, jump ropes, etc., to playground equipment that pose a strangling hazard.
- Choose playgrounds with safe surfaces below. Select playgrounds that have a thick cushion of mulch, wood chips, rubber, etc., beneath equipment. The protective surface should ideally extend about 6’ out from the equipment.