Playgrounds are a standard part of an American child’s life. From monkey bars to swings, miniature rock climbing walls to fireman poles, playgrounds are a fantastic place for children to spend time, meet friends, have fun and get some exercise.
But playgrounds also present some serious concerns, too. According to an article in FiveThirtyEight, the number of playground-related concussions among children is on the rise. And it is not just the number of concussions that parents should be concerned about – the years from 2008 to 2013 saw a large increase in the number of playground-related emergency room visits for all types of injuries.
If your child has been injured on a playground, and if you believe that that injury was the result of a dangerous situation or defective playground equipment, you should consult with the Raleigh, North Carolina premises liability attorneys at the law offices of Riddle & Brantley,LLP.
Playground-Related Traumatic Brain Injuries among Children
A study in the journal Pediatrics reveals that during the study period spanning from January 2001 to December 2013, there were an average of 21,101 children age 14 and younger treated annually at emergency departments for playground-related traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). From 2005 to 2013, the annual rate of playground-related TBIs increased significantly, according to the study. The most common type of TBI reported was a concussion.
The playground equipment most commonly associated with TBIs were monkey bars, playground gyms, and swings, but “equipment involvement varied with age group.” Slides and seesaws were also sources of injury.
The good news is that most of the injuries that sent children to emergency rooms were not severe. In fact, 96 percent of children with playground-related TBIs were sent home without hospitalization, but the remaining 4 percent suffered injuries that required more extensive medical attention.
Other Types of Playground Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are not the only type of injuries that children suffer in playground accidents. Other injuries that were reported in the study included:
- Bone fractures
- Internal injuries
- Sprain injuries
- Strain injuries
- Other injuries
Why the Increase in Playground Injuries?
The article in FiveThirtyEight states that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is not sure why there has been an increase in playground injuries in recent years. A few potential reasons include:
- Playgrounds are not being maintained or repaired often enough, increasing the risk of injury for children.
- More parents and other adults, such as teachers and playground supervisors, are aware of TBI symptoms and signs, and are seeking emergency care as a result of that increased awareness.
- More children are playing on playgrounds than before, meaning that the ratio of TBIs to the number of children on playgrounds has remained consistent.
Concussion Basics: What You Need to Know as a Parent
While a cut or bruise may be easy to recognize and treat, whether your child is suffering from a concussion can be much more difficult to diagnose. According to the Mayo Clinic, here are some concussion basics to look out for after your child suffers a potential injury on a playground:
- Loss of consciousness
- Slurred speech
- Psychological changes
- Ringing in the ears
- Dilated pupils
- Loss of balance
- Excessive crying
- Changes in eating habits
Keep in mind that your child may not display all of these symptoms if he or she is suffering from a head injury. It is important to seek professional medical help if your child has hit his or her head and is displaying any of the above signs of a concussion/traumatic brain injury.
Preventing and Protecting Children from Injuries
While knowing the symptoms of a TBI is essential in the event that your child suffers a blow to the head, preventing a TBI (or other injury) from occurring in the first place is ideal. For parents, supervising children is one of the best ways to prevent injuries. In addition, parents should have a conversation with their children about safe playground behavior. While kids will be kids, reminding your children about the right way to go down the slide or appropriate distances to jump may help prevent an accident.
Parents, educators, and playground supervisors should also inspect playground equipment for any obvious safety concerns before letting children play. Be sure that children are using age-appropriate playground equipment as well.
An article in ABC News 11 states that playground developers should consider using softer playground surfaces – like wood chips – rather than hard surfaces, like concrete, to prevent injuries.
Who May Be Liable for a Playground Injury?
In many cases, playground injuries are a result of negligence. Dangerous playground equipment or poorly maintained playgrounds may result in a preventable accident, as may a lack of proper adult supervision.
If you believe that your child’s playground injury would not have occurred had a proper degree of care been exercised – for example, had the owner of the playground taken more care to ensure that the playground was maintained in a safe condition – you may have a claim for damages. To help you understand who might be liable, how to file your lawsuit, how to prove negligence, and how to prove damages, you need the help of a legal professional.
Children’s Injury Lawsuits – Contact the Attorneys at Riddle & Brantley, LLP
At the law firm of Riddle & Brantley, LLP, our experienced personal injury lawyers have over 160 years’ worth of combined legal experience, and understand what it takes to get victims the compensation that they deserve. Before trying to go at it alone – or assuming that you just do not have a case – contact our law offices for a free consultation. You can reach us by calling our offices directly, or by telling us more about your case using our online form.