Friday, July 3, 2015

Playgrounds Can Be Dangerous Places and a Playground Injury Can Be Severe

Playgrounds are supposed to be designed as safe places for children to play without getting injured. Unfortunately that is not always the case. According to the National Playground Institute over 200,000 playground injuries are reported each year, nationwide. Of these 45 percent are considered severe. 75 percent happen in public playgrounds such as schools, parks, and daycare centers. 60 percent of those accidents are caused by falls from playground equipment. Falls also account for over 80 percent of home playground injuries.

S.A.F.E Standards
The National Program for Playground Safety created S.A.F.E. which separates the safety of playgrounds into four separate categories to create and maintain a safe playground design.

- Supervision – Lack of adult supervision leads to many serious playground accidents. Children should be in clear visibility of parents or adult supervisors at all times. The parents should check the area frequently for dangers of faulty equipment, trip and fall obstacles and even aggressively behaving children.

- Age appropriate design – Playgrounds should have separate areas for children from 2 to 5 years old and 5 through 12.

- Fall Surfacing - Surfaces that are considered acceptable for placing beneath and around playground equipment include mulch, sand, rubberized mats and materials, wood fiber and pea gravel.

- Equipment design and maintenance – All equipment should not have any loose or unanchored parts, sharp edges or protrusions and should be functioning properly according to design.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission maintains a set of standards which are updated bi-annually.  The Americans with Disabilities Act put forth a standard providing for all children to have accessibility and the opportunity to play. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has issued a set of quality standards for playgrounds.

Be Diligent for Safety
Assuming that any playground is a safe play haven for kids can be a critical mistake. Dangers can be lurking anywhere in the form of faulty equipment, poorly padded surfaces, bullies or understaffed or untrained adult supervision. Falling from a piece of playground equipment can result in injury but add to that equation, steel equipment parts and a hard landing surface and the resulting injury may be critical. Some playground injuries are minor and part of growing up like bruises and scrapes, but others may be severe or even grave. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, strangulation and broken bones are all disturbingly too common on playgrounds.  

Who is Responsible?
It is the responsibility of the supervisory team that oversees the operation of a playground, to be sure that it is safe at all times when children are or may be present. Florida’s Childcare Standards (F.A.C. 65C-22.003) encompasses playground safety in the list of required courses for childcare providers. If a child is on a playground where there is a childcare staff member present, that supervising adult must have passed a course in playground safety. This Florida Standard is in addition to the abovementioned National standards.

If you have a child that was injured, or even died, while playing at a public playground, such as a school, daycare or public park, there may be compensation available. A Florida playground accident attorney will be able to thoroughly investigate what caused the accident and determine who was at fault. It could be the equipment manufacturer, the school or daycare, the department of parks and recreation, a supervisor or even another child who was not properly supervised by a parent. It takes an experienced playground accident lawyer to determine the actual facts in these cases. Sometimes the injured child will not recollect what happened but others may have seen. Children can make excellent witnesses and the attorney knows this.

The attorneys at Dolman Law Group have the experience and skill to develop a case when a child is injured on a playground. Do not wait until the facts become clouded and difficult to find. Contact Dolman Law Group today and speak with an attorney who really cares about you and your child.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765