Playground Accidents

AuthorCharles E. Turnbow
Playground Accidents
§2410 Scope of Problem
Table: Distribution of Injuries in Children
§2420 Litigation
§2421 Basis of Liability
§2422 Timely Notification
§2423 Essential Parties
§2424 The Complaint
§2425 Case Evaluation
§2426 Standards
§2426.1 Industry Standards
§2426.2 Medical Societies
§2426.3 The Handbook for Public Playground Safety
Illustration: Playground Equipment Protrusion
Table: Depth of Playground Materials
Illustration: Use Zone for Slides
§2427 Inspection and Documentation of Accident Site
§2427.1 Inspection Team
§2427.2 Measurements and Testing
§2427.3 Layout and Dimensions
§2428 Accident Reconstruction
§2428.1 Video Tapes
§2428.2 Computer Re-enactment
§2430 Discovery
§2431 Interrogatories
§2432 Requests for Admissions
§2433 Requests for Production of Documents
§2434 Depositions
§2434.1 Eyewitnesses
§2434.2 Playground Supervisor
§2434.3 Maintenance Supervisor
§2434.4 Department Head – Parks and Recreation
§2434.5 Employees
§2434.6 Production Engineer
§2434.7 Design Engineer
§2434.8 Installation Contractor
§2440 Adult Supervision
§2410 Scope of Problem
Every 2½ minutes a child is seriously injured in a
playground accident. According to the United States
Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) through
its accident statistic facility, the National Electronic Injury
Surveillance System, each year 211,000 United States
children receive emergency department care for injuries
sustained on or about playground equipment. The cost of
the medical treatment alone is estimated to be in excess of
one billion dollars. The American Academy of Pediatrics
estimates that an additional 39,000 children in the middle
school age range are also injured.
Over 75 percent of all playground injuries are the result
of falls off equipment; falls from heights, especially from
climbing structures (such as monkey bars); and trip and
falls over equipment. About one-fourth of the injury-pro-
ducing falls occur on privately-owned or home equipment,
but most occur at school or public playgrounds.
Often the injuries are only bumps, scrapes or bruises, but
serious injuries from broken bones to fatal head injuries
can occur. The accidents are not always spectacular. For
example, a fall of just one foot onto an asphalt or concrete
surface can cause a fatal head injury, or a four-foot fall to
packed earth or grass can cause serious injury or death.
The CPSC reports that the injuries are more prevalent in children from five to 14 years. For 1994, the distribution of injuries
according to age are as follows:
Thus, the total reported playground injuries requiring hospital treatment for 1994 was 248,287.

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