By Karen Sheehan, MD
Injury Free Coalition for Kids
When your children go out on the playground make sure you can see them at all times. It is important to remove all drawstrings from their clothes, and make sure all loose objects like necklaces are taken off. It’s also important to make sure your children do not wear their bicycle helmets on the playground. They should always wear them while riding their bike, but remove them before playing on the playground because of potential strangulation hazards.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that every year more than 200,000 children are treated in Emergency Departments for injuries they sustained on playgrounds. Most of those injuries are due to falls and nearly half of those are severe. These include fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations, and amputations, though concussions and other head injuries are much more rare today because so many playgrounds have rubber surfaces.
On public playgrounds, more injuries happen when children are playing on climbers than any other equipment. On home equipment, swings are responsible for the majority of injuries. The type of playground surface children play on is the most important factor in preventing injuries and making them less severe.
Check the playground regularly to see that the equipment is in good condition and free of missing or broken or missing parts, and/or hardware. Wood equipment should be free of rot and splinters and plastic equipment should not be cracked. It’s also important to check the temperature of the equipment. Taking a few moments to examine the places where your child plays will help ensure that they have a fun, safe, happy and healthy summer.
For more information, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at firstname.lastname@example.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.