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Facts about playground injuries

Every year, children in Ohio are injured while playing on private and public playgrounds. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 200,000 children under the age of 14 visit the emergency room every year after suffering from a playground-related injury in the United States. About 45 percent of those children have sustained a severe injury such as an amputation, dislocation, concussion, internal injury or severe fracture.

The majority of nonfatal playground injuries occur while children are playing on equipment at public playgrounds, especially playgrounds at school and daycare. A common risk factor at public playgrounds has been found to be climbing structures. Playground-related injuries that occur on home playground equipment usually involve swings.

Although most nonfatal playground injuries occur at public playgrounds, 70 percent of playground fatalities take place on home playgrounds. From 1990 to 2000, 147 children under the age of 14 died while using playground equipment. Most of these deaths involved strangulation while falls to the playground surface were found to be the second leading cause of playground-related death. A study conducted in New York City concluded that children in low-income areas were more exposed to hazards related to poor maintenance of playgrounds than other children.

The owner of a playground is expected to maintain safe premises that are free from known hazards. In addition, the property owner should regularly inspect the premises to look for unknown hazards. When a child is injured on a playground, the child's parents may be able to file a premises liability claim against the property owner and seek compensation on behalf of their child. An attorney may be able to help the parents to gather sufficient evidence to prove that the child's injuries could have been prevented with proper playground maintenance.

Source: CDC, "Playground injuries: fact sheet", December 05, 2014

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