Children are often hurt on playgrounds, ranging from a scraped knee to a bruise, but more serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, have been increasingly common in recent times. According to the Centers for Disease Control, despite a great deal of safety improvements on playgrounds, more than 29,000 children under the age of 14 were admitted to emergency rooms across the country to be treated for playground-related brain injuries in 2013.
Why Have There Been More Child Brain Injury Cases?
Researchers say that determining an exact cause is improbable, and that they can only speculate as to the reasons behind the rising number of playground-related brain injuries.
One theory, put forth by CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control medical officer Dr. Janeita Bell, is that perhaps the number of injuries isn’t actually increasing at all, but rather that more children are receiving medical attention for these injuries. She argues that “increased awareness about concussions” could be behind the numbers.
In 2013, researchers looked at more than 29,000 children who had been admitted to ERs across the nation after they sustained concussions or other brain injuries. That number is up 11,000 from 2001. Researchers say that they have seen significant increases since 2009.
Of those 29,000 kids studied in 2013, about 60 percent of them were boys. More than half of the children were between the ages of 5 and 9. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a majority of the injuries occurred during the months of April, May, and September.
How Can I Prevent Child Brain Injury on the Playground?
Government agencies have implemented a variety of safety regulations designed to make playgrounds safer. This includes better surfacing, which supposedly is more effective at preventing falling injuries. Many ordinances and regulations have prohibited unsafe equipment from being installed in public parks as well.
Adult supervision is really the best defense against child injury. Parents should conduct a quick inspection of the play equipment before allowing their child to use it, just to be safe. Also, Dr. Bell recommends that parents tell their kids to stay away from the monkey bars.
Swings, playground gyms, and monkey bars were responsible for most of the brain injuries Dr. Bell and the other researchers looked at in the study.
The personal injury lawyers with Targan Pender & Strickland, P.C. have years of experience helping families with children who are injured due to negligence or faulty equipment.