The Most Common Playground Injuries
Posted in safety tips on March 22, 2017
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children 14 years and younger for playground-related injuries in the U.S. every year. About 45% of these injuries are severe, such as broken bones, concussions, internal injuries, and limb amputations. Most playground accidents stem from human error or negligence, such as defects in playground equipment, negligent supervision, and careless property owners. If your child suffered an injury or wrongful death while on a public or private playground, hire a lawyer to protect your child’s rights.
Defective and Dangerous Playground Equipment Injuries
On public playgrounds, the most common source of child injuries is climbing equipment. On home playgrounds, swings cause the most injuries. On any playground, manufacturer error and liability may play a part in childhood injuries. Manufacturers and distributers must ensure the products they release to the public are safe for use. They must take care to prevent errors on the manufacturing line, dangerous product designs, and inadequate safety warning labels on products.
Failure to obey these rules often leads to consumer injuries – including child injuries on faulty or dangerous playground equipment. Examples of injuries that could stem from defective products include:
- Cuts from exposed metal on slides.
- Falls from swings with defective chains.
- Injuries from structures with missing pieces.
- Crushed/amputated limbs from equipment with pinch hazards.
- Spaces large enough for children’s heads to get stuck.
- Abrasions or puncture wounds from exposed nails or screws.
- A falling surface that’s too hard.
- Platforms and ramps without proper guardrails.
- Playground equipment with dangerous strings or ropes (strangulation hazards).
If an injury stems from an inherent design or manufacturing defect in the playground equipment, the child’s parents may sue the responsible manufacturer or distributor. Product liability claims require only that the plaintiff prove the piece of equipment was defective and this defect caused injury.
Lack of Supervision and Playground Accidents
About 75% of playground-related injuries occur on public playgrounds – especially at schools and daycare centers. Many of these injuries stem from negligent supervision. Parents rightfully expect a certain level of care from employees and staff members when they enroll their children.
Supervisors who neglect their duties, failing to watch children on the playground or take appropriate action in the event of an emergency, can cause childhood injuries and even wrongful death. Such accidents may include:
- Children climbing too high on structures and falling off.
- Children getting limbs stuck in playground equipment.
- Children bullying or injuring other children.
- Children performing dangerous stunts on equipment.
- Children misusing playground equipment.
- A child running into the road and getting struck by a vehicle.
- Children getting lost or injured on field trips.
- Swimming pool accidents during lessons or pool parties.
Proving negligent supervision may require speaking to witnesses, investigating the individual employee responsible, and using expert testimony to show another supervisor in the same situation would have done something differently, preventing injury.
Property Owner Negligence and Injuries
Negligent property owners can cause childhood injuries by failing to properly maintain a premises. Owners of public and private playgrounds must make sure the area doesn’t have any hazardous obstacles or harmful playground defects such as sharp sticks on the ground, slippery surfaces, exposed nails, rusty equipment, or dilapidated structures. Any playground accidents relating to the safety of the premises, including those involving bodies of water, animal attacks, and improper safety fencing, may also be the responsibility of the property owner.
Lawsuits against schools can be complex. If your child suffered an injury or wrongful death after a playground accident in California, please reach out to Panish, Shea & Boyle, LLP. Your child deserves aggressive legal representation.