Is Your Child’s Playground Safe?
In Jacksonville, a 10-year-old boy was fatally strangled when he became entangled in the foothold loop of a rope swing. In Orlando, an eight-year-old girl died instantly of head injuries when a wooden climbing apparatus collapsed on top of her.
Playing on safe, well-constructed playground equipment teaches kids social skills, promotes physical exercise and builds coordination and balance. However, poorly designed and inadequately maintained playgrounds put children at serious risk of injuries. The tragic deaths of this young boy and girl could have been avoided. Their loving parents made the same assumptions as thousands of other Florida parents make every day — that their children’s playground is safe.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission provides extensive information about playground safety. Parents and others who are involved in designing, building, inspecting or supervising playgrounds should review relevant documents in their entirety.
Consider the following key points when inspecting your child’s play area:
- The surface under climbing equipment should be created out of soft material — such as woodchips, mulch, sand or rubber — to cushion a child’s fall.
- Elevated spaces should have guardrails to prevent falls.
- The openings in cargo nets and rope-loops need to be either small enough or large enough to prevent accidental strangulation.
- Metal equipment can become a burn hazard during hot South Florida summers, especially on playgrounds located in direct sunlight.
- Foundations and parts may loosen with use, subjecting them to dangerous collapse or failure.
- Loose metal, screws, nails, splinters and sharp edges may result in puncture or laceration wounds.
- Rusty equipment, peeling paint and debris indicate that the playground is not well maintained.
- Allow your children to use only age-appropriate equipment.
- Make sure your children receive adequate supervision at daycare, school, home and public playgrounds.
If your child was injured on a playground in Fort Lauderdale, consult a personal injury lawyer who can determine whether faulty design, poor maintenance or inadequate supervision contributed to your child’s playground accident or worsened the resulting injuries.