When the weather is nice, both you and your child are likely to want to spend as much time outside as you can. A huge attraction during these months is the local playground. Playgrounds are an incredible means to get your child outside while also practicing her social and motor skills. However, statistics suggest that playgrounds can be dangerous if proper measures are not taken.
Approximately 147 children under the age of 14 died from playground related injuries between the years 1990-2001. In 2003 alone, over 200,000 children were treated in the emergency room for both fatal and minor playground-related injuries such as fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations, and amputations.
Simple Precautions to Protect Your Child
As a parent, there are multiple precautions you can take in order to better ensure your child’s safety on the playground:
Supervise: Supervision of your child is extremely important no matter her age. Be sure that your child does not go to a playground without either your supervision or the supervision of another adult that you trust. Be sure to be present with your child while they play so that you will be able to recognize if they are in any danger.
Cushion: Be aware of the padding on the playground. Many injuries occur from falling onto the hard ground. Though a softer surface will not guarantee your child’s absolute safety, it could possibly lessen the injury if your child were to fall.
Be sure to take your child to playgrounds that have some form of shock-absorption surfaces. This could include rubber, synthetic turf, wood chips, or sand. Choose a playground with a softer surface that might cushion your child’s landing more than asphalt or grass.
Teach: As a parent, it is important that you teach your child that wrestling and rough housing should not take place on the playground. You cannot control the other kids, but your child should know that these behaviors can be dangerous. Tell them not to crowd, push, or shove any other child.
Dress: It is also important that your child dresses appropriately for the playground. A significant amount of playground deaths are the result of strangulation. Be sure to remove any article of closing that may cause this, including scarves, drawstring sweatshirts, necklaces, purses, and even helmets. Also, be sure that your child is wearing appropriate active shoes to help prevent slip-and-fall accidents.
Who Is Liable If Your Child Is Injured on a Playground?
Every case is different, and therefore different people and entities can be held liable in the event of a playground injury. It’s important to determine whether or not the injury was caused by inadequate supervision or unsafe equipment.
Inadequate Supervision: In order to place blame on the supervisor for the injury, you must prove that the injury might have been avoided if better supervision was implemented. If a supervisor saw a dangerous condition and did not do anything to stop it, he can be held responsible. An example of this might be if a child is injured while climbing up a slide because nobody stopped her. It also should be noted that a supervisor will not always be the parent. It can be a babysitter, coach, camp counselor, teacher, or anyone else who is given responsibility for the child.
Unsafe Equipment: In the case of unsafe equipment on the playground, responsibility for your child’s injury will fall to whoever is the owner of the equipment. This could be a school, a private residence, or a park district. An example of this might be if the chain of a swing set breaks while the child is swinging. It is the owner’s responsibility to regularly check the maintenance of the playground, so if there is something mechanically wrong with it, and this causes an injury, the owner or manager can be held liable.
If your child is injured on the playground and you believe that someone should be held responsible for the accident, call Hensley legal Group today or contact us online for your free consultation.