Playground Equipment Remains Common Cause of Serious Injury for Children


August 03, 2011

A recent article published in the New York Times suggests that improvements in playground safety have made playgrounds “too safe.”   Playground equipment has undergone major changes designed to prevent serious injuries such as strangulation, head trauma and fractures resulting from falls.

These changes were a response to concerns by parents, stricter federal safety standards, changes in industry design by manufacturers and accidents where children suffered serious injury and even death.

Some of these safety improvements that have prevented injury on Georgia playgrounds in parks, school grounds and in backyards include playground equipment that is not as high as well as softer surfaces under playground equipment including wood chips or rubber material. Personal injury lawsuits have helped pave the way to make playgrounds safer.

The New York Times article suggests that some psychology professionals believe safety improvements have gone too far. The article suggests that mental health professionals are concerned that safer playground equipment may impair emotional growth and promote anxiety and fears. The author of the article suggests that these potential emotional effects may trump physical injury from playground falls and strangulation accidents.

The author quotes Ellen Sandseter, a professor of psychology at Queen Maud University in Norway, "Children need to encounter risks and overcome fears on the playground. I think monkey bars and tall slides are great. As playgrounds become more and more boring, these are some of the few features that still can give children thrilling experiences with heights and high speed."

The article suggests that lawsuits rather than safety are the reason for the changes in playground equipment. Articles like these are frustrating because they fail to acknowledge serious injury risks for children and dismiss the importance of product liability law and personal injury litigation in protecting the public. The notion that children are better off taking dangerous risks on playground equipment that can result in catastrophic head injuries and broken bones is seriously misinformed.

Interestingly, the New York Times article does not provide a scintilla of evidence to suggest that the seriousness of playground equipment injuries are somehow exaggerated. Every year 200,000 children are injured on playground equipment according to the CPSC. These are not insignificant scrapes and bruises, as the New York Times article seems to dismissively suggest. Forty percent of injuries suffered in falls from playground equipment involve a fracture and almost a dozen children under the age of 15 are killed annually in falls from playground equipment. Approximately 45% of playground equipment injuries are classified as severe, which include fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations, and amputations.

While we understand the value of children overcoming challenges and conquering fears, it would seem there are better ways to accomplish this than to put children in danger on unsafe playground equipment. At Montlick and Associates, we fight to protect the rights of our clients and also recognize that personal injury claims and product liability lawsuits can change unsafe behavior and force manufacturers to produce less dangerous products. We have been representing victims of defective products in Georgia for over 27 years and are committed to promoting safe, responsible conduct that prevents catastrophic injury and wrongful death.

Our Atlanta playground accident lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

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