It is estimated that over 200,000 children end up in emergency rooms across the United States each year as a result of playground injuries. The final count is only a guess given that the additional children whose injuries are not reported due to minor bumps, cuts, bruises, and broken bones-not to mention the countless “close calls”-that simply do not end up in emergency room statistics. The reported injuries involve mostly children ages 2-9, regardless of efforts by child care providers, inspectors, and manufacturers to improve playground safety.
Unfortunately there will always be some playground injuries, for as long as young children continue to play outdoors. They will test and exceed the limits of their physical and cognitive abilities. There will rarely be a time when children play “appropriately” or as instructed; that’s what young children do. Falls are a normal part of life, serious injuries should not be. The fact remains that nearly all playground injuries COULD be prevented. Active supervision is key, however, ample playground surfacing, secure and well maintained play structures, and reporting/replacing any and all parts in a timely manner is another key component to assisting children in reducing the number and the severity of injuries to-date.