A trip to the playground sounds like a nice Saturday afternoon of family fun. Your kids get to play somewhere new, they get to burn off some energy, and you all get to enjoy the fresh air. What could be better?
Certainly, all of these upsides are real, but it's important for you, as a parent, to also know about the risks. Below are a few of the hazards at the playground.
Surfaces That Aren't Kid-Friendly
Experts generally suggest that playgrounds use surfaces like grass, sand, soil or woodchips. In some areas, rubberized surfaces may be used. The problem comes when the designers use things like brick, gravel, cement or asphalt. While these are long-lasting outdoor materials, they can all cause children to be unnecessarily injured if they slip and fall.
Many pieces of elevated equipment have railings to keep children from falling. If these have fallen into disrepair and have been neglected, they could be broken or even missing entirely. This increases fall risks dramatically and can make equipment that otherwise would have been safe very dangerous.
Too Much Equipment
Trying to pack too much equipment into a small playground can also be dangerous. Essentially, designers need to understand that children may fall, so they have to leave clear spaces and open ground in likely areas. If children who fall land on other equipment, rather than sand or grass, they could be very badly hurt.
Children who are having fun often run and play without looking where they are going. When there is a cracked piece of cement, a buried obstacle, a broken board on a wooden walkway, or some other trip hazard, fall risks just go up. Playgrounds must be designed to eliminate trip hazards and then maintained so that new ones don't crop up.
Has your child been injured on a playground that was neglected, poorly designed or poorly maintained? As your family faces high medical bills, it's important to know if you can seek financial compensation.
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