More than 200,000 kids each year hurt on playground

As temperatures rise, more kids will be on the playground. The nation’s emergency physicians want all of them to have fun, but also to stay safe.

“Many playground injuries can be avoided if parents are mindful about the risks and teach children to obey safety rules,” said Dr. Rebecca Parker, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “We encourage children to get outside and play to promote a healthier lifestyle, but we want to make sure our children are as safe as possible.”

Every year, emergency physicians see more than 200,000 children with playground-related injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These injuries range from head injuries, to fractures, internal bleeding and others. More than 20,000 of these children are treated for traumatic brain injury, including concussion.

Teach your child to follow safety rules. Children should not run, push or shove others while on a playground. They should not walk in the path of a moving swing or climb a slide instead of using the ladder.

Facts:

• More than half of the injuries are fractures, contusions and/or abrasions.

• About 75 percent of nonfatal injuries on playground equipment occur on public playgrounds, most of which are at schools and daycare centers.

• The overall rate of emergency visits for playground-related traumatic brain injury has increased significantly in recent years, according to the CDC.

To prevent injuries:

• Closely supervise any young child on a playground. Older children also need adult supervision.

• Make sure the playground facility is properly maintained. Is there broken equipment? Is there trash or broken bottles nearby? Does the playground have adequate cushioning to prevent injury?

• Children should never crowd the playground. If you cannot safely monitor a child because too many children are using the equipment, choose another time.

• Make sure the playground equipment is age appropriate. Younger children get hurt playing on equipment meant for older children.

• Older children should stay away from playground equipment reserved for younger children to avoid injuring those who are physically smaller. Areas for preschool children should be separate from those of school-age children.

• Children should not wear hoods or clothing with strings on a playground. These can block the child’s peripheral vision and also create choking hazards.