Kids are back to school, and this means they are spending more time on playgrounds. Kids and playgrounds go together, and it’s great to see children having a good time doing what children do best – playing. Unfortunately, school playgrounds (and other public or private playgrounds) that aren’t well designed, well maintained, and/or well supervised can lead to extremely dangerous accidents and extremely serious injuries. If your child has been injured in such an accident, consult with an experienced Fargo personal injury lawyer today.
Playgrounds are intended for use by children, and as such, they need to be designed, built, maintained, and supervised with children in mind. When you take your child to a playground or when he or she is on the playground at recess, you expect the activity to be reasonably safe. Nevertheless, kids will be kids – and accidents do happen. If the accident is serious and is caused by faulty design, manufacture, maintenance, or supervision, however, it’s a different matter entirely.
By design, playgrounds are inviting to children. Some playgrounds – despite outward appearances – harbor hidden dangers, including:
- Hard and unyielding surfaces – If your child takes a tumble, falls off a piece of playground equipment, or is ejected from a piece of playground equipment, he or she is much less likely to be seriously injured if the landing surface is made of something more forgiving than concrete. Surfaces that are rubberized or have a softer covering are far safer for children. Further, a playground’s surface should be free of exposed concrete at equipment footings, tree stumps, rocks, and debris.
- Protrusions and Sharp Edges – Although playgrounds are designed for children, they sometimes incorporate parts that aren’t kid-friendly. When children are at play, they aren’t checking themselves to ensure that their actions are safe in relation to their surroundings. Playgrounds must be safe throughout. Protrusions and sharp edges can lead to dangerous cuts, tripping accidents, and more.
- Head-Entrapment spaces – Children are naturally curious, and they like to poke their heads where they shouldn’t be. When playgrounds incorporate spaces that can trap a child’s head, the results can be exceedingly dangerous.
- Unprotected Heights – When playground equipment incorporates height, anything but the lowest platforms must incorporate safety rails.
- Inadequate Maintenance – Playground equipment, like anything else, is not immune to wear with usage. Proper maintenance is critical to keeping playground equipment and the grounds themselves safe for children. When such maintenance is in short supply, children can suffer the consequences. Worn or otherwise damaged surfaces are tripping hazards and equipment that is poorly maintained can malfunction and cause injuries.
- Equipment that Is Age Inappropriate – Some playground equipment is intended for older children while other equipment is intended for younger children. When both types are randomly interspersed, it makes it more difficult to supervise younger children, and it can lead to a false sense of security regarding younger children playing on age-inappropriate equipment.
- Play Area Overcrowded by Equipment – When playground equipment doesn’t have ample room around it, it sets the stage for accidents. Children need room to get safely from one area to another, and when equipment overcrowds the play area, children are far more likely to be injured within the confined spaces.
Overexposure to the Sun
Playgrounds often don’t have the shade they need to help children avoid overexposure to the sun. This is especially true during the sun’s peak hours, which span from 10 AM to 2 PM. Under such conditions, children need to have plenty of water made available to them. Further, playground supervisors should know the warning signs of illnesses associated with overexposure to the sun. Finally, it’s important to recognize that the equipment on playgrounds that aren’t well shaded can become dangerously hot in the heat of the day and cause potentially serious burns.
The National Safety Council shares the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s statistics related to playground safety, including:
- More than 200,000 children under the age of 14 need emergency room care after being injured on playgrounds each year in the United States.
- More than 10 percent of these children are treated for traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
- Almost 80 percent of all playground injuries are caused by falls.
If Your Child’s Been Seriously Injured on the Playground, You Need an Experienced Fargo Personal Injury Attorney
Playground injuries are upsetting, and when caused by someone else’s negligence, they are even more troubling. The dedicated personal injury lawyers at O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss in Fargo are committed to helping you and your child obtain the compensation to which you are entitled under the law. For more information, please email one of our experienced personal injury attorneys – Tim O’Keeffe, Tatum O’Brien, or Sara Monson – or give us a call at 701-235-8000 or 877-235-8002 (toll-free) today.