5 Common Playground Injuries and How to Prevent Them

As a parent, you want to encourage your child to be active and healthy. Playgrounds are a great place for children to exercise, socialize, and, most importantly, have fun.

However, with all the play and excitement, it is easy for accidents to happen.

Identified here are the 5 most common playground injuries your child may experience and some tips on how parents can help prevent them.

child climbing on monkey bars at a playground

Why Playgrounds are Dangerous

Playgrounds are a source of fun and excitement for children, but they can also be dangerous. Unfortunately, these spaces designed specifically for children can be inherently dangerous.

The majority of playground injuries are caused by falls. The hard surfaces of the playground equipment, such as concrete, steel, and asphalt, can cause severe injuries.

Another danger is equipment that is poorly designed, maintained, or installed. Rusty equipment, loose screws or bolts, and unstable structures can lead to serious injuries.

This is especially true for older playground equipment. The risk of injury can be further compounded if the playground is overcrowded or if the children are not properly supervised.

The Most Common Playground Injuries

Head Injuries

Head injuries are among the most common injuries in playgrounds. They can range from mild concussions to more serious traumatic brain injuries.

Falls from heights, collisions with other children, or being hit by equipment are the most common causes of head injuries like concussion which can be treated by a concussion supportive therapy .

Falls from heights, collisions with other children, or being hit by equipment are the most common causes of head injuries.

Broken Bones

Broken bones can occur when a child falls from a height or is struck by playground equipment. Monkey bars are notorious for causing off-balance falls from heights that can cause serious fractures

The most common bones that are broken are the arms and wrists. It’s instinctual for children to stick out their arms during a fall. This results in awkward landings and broken bones. 

Cuts and Scrapes

Cuts and scrapes are common injuries in playgrounds. They are usually caused by falls or contact with sharp or rough surfaces.

While they may not be serious injuries, they can still cause pain and discomfort and should be treated right way to prevent infection. 

Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains can occur when a child falls or twists their ankle or wrist. These injuries can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty in movement.

Burns

Equipment that becomes too hot from the sun or friction can cause burns. Metal slides or swings that are exposed to direct sunlight can cause burns on the child’s skin.

According to the CPSC, a child even suffered second degree burns on a plastic slide on 74 degree Fahrenheit day. 

Preventing Playground Injuries

As a parent, there are several steps you can take to prevent your child from suffering a playground injury.

Age-Appropriate Playgrounds

Make sure the playground is age-appropriate for your child. Younger children should play on equipment that is designed for their age group. It may be difficult to track down what age group a specific playground is designed for.

It may take some research on the playground manufacturer to learn the intended age group for a playground feature. 

Proper Supervision

Children should be properly supervised while playing on a playground. An adult should always be present to watch over the children and to make sure they are playing safely.

Checking Equipment for Safety

Before allowing your child to play on the equipment, check it for safety. Look for any signs of damage, rust, loosely secured equipment, and instability.

If you notice any problems, report them to the appropriate authority and find another playground to play on.

Teaching Playground Safety

Teach your child about playground safety. Explain to them the importance of not climbing on equipment they’re not supposed to or jumping from heights.

Teach them to use equipment properly such as using the slides feet first and avoiding the path of a swingset. 

Dressing Appropriately

Make sure your child is dressed appropriately for playing on the playground. Loose clothing or clothing with cords or strings can get caught in equipment and cause injuries.

Dress your child in comfortable, close-fitting clothing and shoes with good traction. Use sunscreen when necessary. 

What to Do If Your Child Is Injured

Despite your best efforts to prevent playground injuries, accidents can and do happen. If your child gets hurt while playing, act quickly and seek medical attention if necessary.

Here are some steps you can take if your child is injured:

  1. Assess the situation. As a parent, seeing your child get injured can be a shocking experience. It’s important to stay calm and fully assess the situation before acting. If the injury is minor, such as a scrape or bruise, provide first aid if necessary. Clean and disinfect any open wounds to prevent infection. More serious injuries such as broken bones or head injuries require immediate medical attention.
  2. Seek medical attention. Call 911 or take them to the emergency room for serious injuries. For injuries less severe, it may be better handled by a primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic.
  3. Document the injury. Take photos of the injury and write down what happened. This information may be helpful if you need to file a claim with your insurance company or take legal action against the city for poor playground maintenance or a defective design.
  4. Report the incident. If your child was injured due to faulty equipment or negligence on the part of the playground owner, report the incident to the appropriate authorities. Taking legal action with the help from a personal injury attorney such as Roberts & Spiegel can help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future and help recover medical expenses.

Remember, even minor injuries can be traumatic for young children. Be sure to provide plenty of comfort and support for your child, and reassure them that you’re there to help them through their recovery.

Let Your Child Have Fun!

Playgrounds are a great place for children to have fun and exercise, but they can also be dangerous.

Head injuries, broken bones, cuts and scrapes, sprains and strains, and burns are the most common injuries that children can experience while playing on playgrounds.

As a parent, it’s important to take steps to prevent these injuries from occurring. This includes making sure the playground is age-appropriate, properly supervising your child, checking the equipment for safety, teaching playground safety, and dressing your child appropriately.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your child has a fun and safe time while playing on the playground.