Keep Your Children S.A.F.E. on Playground Equipment

Author: W. Coleman Allen, Jr., Richmond, VA Personal Injury Attorney

Keep Your Children S.A.F.E. on Playground EquipmentDuring the summer months, playgrounds are a busy place with children running, playing and being active. With so much activity going on, playgrounds are also a place where children frequently get hurt. Every year in the United States, more than 200,000 children ages 14 years and younger are treated for playground-related injuries.[1] 

Between 2001 and 2008, an average of 218,851 preschool and elementary children received emergency department care for injuries that occurred on playground equipment.[2]

Which playground equipment is the most dangerous?

  • climbers
  • swings
  • slides
  • overhead ladders/monkey bars[3]

Four rules for keeping your child S.A.F.E.

  1. Provide proper supervision
  2. Design and use age-appropriate playgrounds
  3. Provide and use proper fall surfacing on playgrounds
  4. Maintain playground equipment [4]

Children ages 5-9 have the highest rates of emergency room visits for injuries that occur on playgrounds.[5]  Most injuries of this type occur at school.[6]  These injuries include: fractures, contusions, abrasions, lacerations, strains, sprains, internal injuries, and concussions.[7]

Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for all children ages 0-19; approximately 8,000 children are treated in U.S. emergency rooms every day.[8]

What can you do when supervising your child?  The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) recommends that you “follow your ABCs.”

  1. Anticipate preventable problems,
  2. Exercise good adult behavior by being alert and attentive, and
  3. No matter the context of the playground, always have an adult present.[9]

Concerned about the safety of your own backyard equipment?  The NPPS recommends using the following materials to cushion your child in case they fall from any playground equipment: hardwood wooden fiber, shredded rubber, sand or pea gravel.[10]

For a safety checklist you can use in your own backyard, click here.  Make it an activity you complete with your children!  Click here for the Kid Checker.  When using playground equipment, make sure you play S.A.F.E.! 

Unfortunately, playground injuries can and do occur. If a loved one has been injured while using playground equipment, contact the attorneys at Allen & Allen online or by calling 1-866-388-1307.

About the Author: Coleman Allen is a trial attorney and partner with the Allen Law Firm. His legal career has spanned over 30 years and has included numerous victories for his clients both in and out of the courtroom. Additionally, Coleman is the author of Sources of Coverage: Insurance Coverage for Personal Injury Actions in Virginia. This book is considered the gold standard for insurance coverage in Virginia and is frequently used by not only plantiff's lawyers but also defense lawyers, legislators, and judges all across the Commonwealth.


[1] See Home & Recreational Safety, CDC, http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Playground-Injuries/playgroundinjuries-factsheet.htm (citing D. Tinsworth & J. McDonald, Special Study: Injuries and Deaths Associated with Children’s Playground Equipment (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission  2001)).

[2] See Injuries, National Program for Playground Safety, http://playgroundsafety.org/research/injuries

[3] See id.

[4] S.A.F.E., National Program for Playground Safety, http://playgroundsafety.org/safe

[5] See Home & Recreational Safety, CDC, http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Playground-Injuries/playgroundinjuries-factsheet.htm (citing K.J. Phelan et. al, Trends and Patterns of Playground Injuries in United States Children and Adolescents, 1Ambulatory Pediatrics 227 (2001)).

[6] See id.

[7]  See Injuries, National Program for Playground Safety, http://playgroundsafety.org/research/injuries

[8] See Falls: The Reality, CDC, http://www.cdc.gov/SafeChild/Falls/index.html

[9] See S.A.F.E. Supervision, National Program for Playground Safety, http://playgroundsafety.org/safe/supervision

[10] See Fall Surfacing, National Program for Playground Safety, http://playgroundsafety.org/safe/fall-surfacing

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