Posted by Catherine D. Bertram, Esquire and Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire
Over 200,000 children each year end up in emergency rooms as a result of injuries from playground equipment. Of those children, 15 die. Let’s take a few minutes to think about the safety of the playground equipment in our community to make sure all of our children can play safely this summer. The National Safety Council has a playground fact sheet that provides easy to follow tips for a safer summer:
"Top 10 Checklist for Playground Safety
- Surfaces around playground equipment should be filled with at least 12 inches of loose fill, such as wood chips, mulch, sand or pea gravel.
- Most stationary equipment should have at least a 6-foot use zone in all directions.
- Any openings that can trap children (in guardrails or between ladder rungs) should be less than 3.5 inches apart or more than 9 inches.
- Guardrails should surround all elevated platforms and should be at least 29 inches high for preschool-age children and 38 inches high for school-age children.
- Look for exposed concrete footings, tree roots or rocks that could trip children.
- Check for sharp edges and dangerous hardware, like open "S" hooks or protruding bolts.
- Make sure your child plays on age-appropriate equipment.
- Playgrounds should be maintained regularly. Report any problems.
- Remove hoods or drawstrings that can get caught on equipment.
- Supervise children while they play."
If your child’s playground is unsafe, report problems to the owner/operator immediately. Tragically, there are no national mandatory standards for playground equipment, but Texas, California, New Jersey, Michigan and North Carolina have laws that require playgrounds to follow standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials. Some states require playgrounds to follow standards set in the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Handbook for Public Playground Safety.
Our law firm has experience in tragic cases involving unsafe playgrounds, diving board injuries and pool drownings in the Washington area. If you would like to talk to us please contact us by clicking here or call 202-759-6699.