When we look back on childhood our school playground may be the very first thing we picture, but how common are playground injuries? Many are expressing serious concern, as the number of traumatic brain injuries seem to be increasing among kids.
Every year since 2009, the number of traumatic brain injuries has increased at an alarming rate. To give you a sense, in 2009 doctors treated 18,000 children for concussions; in 2013, they reported treatment for 29,000. The increasing number of injuries is especially disconcerting if you consider all the recent efforts that communities have been taking to make playgrounds safer. Regulations have continued to tighten and law suits have put major pressure on communities to build safer facilities, and yet, more kids are going to the doctor with dead injuries. What is happening?
More Playground Injuries or Smarter Doctors?
Some experts suspect that the rising numbers might actually not mean playgrounds are any more dangerous, but rather that we are growing awareness for how to identify and treat head injuries.
This would suggest that the problem is not getting worse. We are just in the process of identifying problems that have always been there. Kids are getting treatment more frequently because the public is learning about the dangers of head injuries. Still, the large number of head injuries is clearly unacceptable. Surely, there must be more for us to do.
The Question Remains: What More Can Be Done?
67 percent of all playground accidents were at least in part because of bad equipment. So, while there have been many improvements to facilities, there is clearly still much more that can be done. Communities need to demand safer equipment and more intelligent regulations.
Additionally, experts are recommending that parents take a more active role in the safety of their children. Even high quality equipment has the potential to wear down and break. Parents can do a quick examination to make sure that the equipment is safe before letting kids play. While children are playing it is always safer if an adult can make sure they are using the equipment safely.
Most of us associate playgrounds with the happy days of childhood. Let’s work together to make sure that kids in the future see these places in the same positive light.
Targan and Pender is a personal injury firm in the Atlantic City area—we’re ready to fight for you and your loved ones.