With school out for the summer, children are outside and enjoying the southern California sunshine. Many children will end up playing at local playgrounds, which can be a bittersweet experience if the playground equipment is defective or the playground is out-of-compliance with safety standards.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year some 200,000 children under the age of 14 sustain playground-related injuries severe enough to require emergency care. About 70 percent of those children injured were at public playgrounds when the accident happened. More than a third of these injuries are severe, with children sustaining concussions, fractures internal injuries, and amputations.
Sadly, about 15 children die each year due to a playground accident.
While the latest statistics indicate that falls are the most common hazard problem at playgrounds (44 percent), equipment-related hazards such as tip over, breakage, defective design, and improper assembly accounted for 23 percent of playground-related injuries
In California, all public playgrounds are required to follow the standards outlined in the Public Playground Safety Handbook, which was developed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Those standards apply to all outdoor playgrounds that can be accessed by the public, including those on private property such as churches, child day care centers, apartment complexes, and gated homeowner associations.
Experts say that parental supervision is key to preventing injuries on the playground. Parents should inspect a playground to see if the equipment is safe and age-appropriate. Checking ground surfaces around the equipment to insure that they include fall-breaking materials, such as sand, synthetic chipped-rubber, or pea gravel is also recommended. Finally, parents should check their children’s clothing to make sure there are no potential strangulation hazards, such as drawstrings on them.
If your child has been injured on unsafe, unrepaired, or defective playground equipment, you need the legal expertise that the Santa Barbara child injury attorneys at The Law Office of Reneé J. Nordstrand can provide. A playground injury can lead to long-term complications that can add up to huge medical bills.
We are here to answer your questions about your legal options and to help your family. Call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 962-2022 or our Encino office at (818) 981-3530 for a confidential and free consultation. We can also be reached online.