“The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has long recognized the potential hazards that exist with the use of playground equipment,” said Aaron M Davis, certified playground safety inspector with the Installations Safety Office, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. “More than 200,000 estimated emergency room-treated injuries occur annually due to playground mishaps.”
A public playground refers to apparatuses available for the use of children ages 2-12 years old.
Although playgrounds are intended for children’s entertainment, there are many dangers children may face when the playground is not properly chosen, according to Davis.
“The community can create a safer environment for all children and contribute to the reduction of playground-related incidents by reporting broken playground equipment and choosing age-appropriate playgrounds,” said Davis. “By being vigilant, knowing where your children play and what your children play on can prevent accidents.”
The absence of appropriate supervision provides an open door for children to endanger themselves.
“I have two children and take them to the playground three to four times a month,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua L. Brewer, a field radio operator and radio chief with 7th Communications Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, III MEF. “I have experienced, that without supervision, a child’s imagination can run free and will not measure the hazards when having fun on the playground.”
As a part of a day at the playground, they make sure the playground is suitable and safe for their children to play, according to Brewer.
A playground can pose many hazards like falling, entanglement, impalement, entrapment, sharp points, corners, edges, and tripping hazards, according to Davis.
“The leading cause of accidents is due to falls,” said Davis.
Although falls are the leading hazard found on playgrounds, injuries caused by sharp points are another hazard causing injuries.
“Sharp points, corners, or edges on any part of the playground or playground equipment may cut or puncture a child’s skin,” said Davis. “Sharp edges can cause serious lacerations if protective measures are not taken.”
Another tip parents can take to prevent incidents on a playground is to pay attention to drawstrings from clothing.
“Drawstrings on the hoods of sweatshirts, jackets and other upper body clothing can become entangled in playground equipment and can cause death by strangulation,” said Davis.
Another form of strangulation on a playground is head entrapment, which can occur if a child enters an opening either feet or head first, according to Davis.
“Also, children should not wear their bicycle helmets while on playground equipment,” said Davis. “There have been head entrapment incidents in which children wearing their bicycle helmets became entrapped in spaces that would not normally be considered a head entrapment danger. Community awareness of a playground hazards is important in preventing injuries.”
These injuries can be avoided by reporting discrepancies to the playground owner.