Playground Safety and Liability – Negligence on the Playground
Any parent knows that children will inevitably suffer injuries. From scraped knees to bruises, a curious child is bound to incur some minor injuries as they grow and explore. But serious injuries are a different story, and are not always the result of innocent child play. Indeed, playground injuries may be the result of negligence, and as such, completely avoidable. Here’s a look at what you need to know about playground safety.
Tips for Keeping Little Ones Safe on the Playground
While it is impossible to prevent all injuries, there are several things that can be done to done to reduce the risk of injuries. Some tips for keeping kids safe on the playground include:
- Check your child’s clothing. Loose clothing and things like scarves tend to get caught on playground equipment, which can lead to devastating injuries, including strangulation.
- Talk to your child about safe play. Running is a good thing for kids, but remind your child that there are certain trip hazards that they should watch out for and prevent if possible (i.e. don’t drop your sweatshirt on the ground). Also speak with your child about the safest way to use playground equipment, such as going down the slide rather than climbing atop of it.
- Ensure supervision. It can be difficult to pay attention to your child’s every move when you go to the playground; you may be distracted by your phone, another adult, or even the desire to rest your eyes for a minute or two. But a lack of supervision can be dangerous on the playground, especially for children ages four and under.
- Consider the number of children. Playgrounds that are full of children are great – being around other children teaches kids things like sharing, development of social skills, teamwork, and more. But if a playground gets too crowded, it may be dangerous.
- Dangerous playgrounds. Detecting a dangerous playground can be difficult, but looking for certain signs of a hazardous play area is important. Signs that a playground may be unsafe include:
- Sharp edges;
- Playground surface – protective surfaces like mulch or rubber should be at least 12 inches deep;
- Protrusion hazards;
- Lack of maintenance – look for signs of rust or loose screws; and
- Age-inappropriate equipment – some playgrounds are designed for older kids; some for younger.
When Negligence Leads to a Playground Accident and Injury
The National Safety Council, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports that there are more than 20,000 children per year treated in emergency departments across the United States for playground-related traumatic brain injuries. This excludes the number of children who are treated for other injury types, such as fracture or soft tissue injuries. If your child is harmed in a playground accident that would not have occurred but for negligence, such as a failure to supervise or a failure to maintain equipment in a safe condition, you may have a personal injury suit against the at-fault party. Parties who may be held potentially liable for an injury might include:
- Property owner. If a child is hurt because of a dangerous condition on a playground, the property owner may be liable for the child’s injuries. This is based on the legal notion that property owners have a duty to maintain their properties in a safe condition.
- Playground manufacturer. If a child is harmed because of a playground design or manufacture defect (such as a swing that breaks free while in use), the playground manufacturer can be held liable.
- School. If your child is injured on a school playground, the school may be held liable for failure to maintain the playground, failure to properly supervise, and more.
- Another parent. Finally, if your child is harmed while under the supervision of another parent or the child of another parent, that parent may be to blame.
Consult with an Experienced Playground Accident Attorney Today
Playgrounds can be awesome places for children to learn, develop skills, and explore, but they can also be dangerous. If your child is harmed on a playground, visit our personal injury attorneys at Whibbs Stone Barnett, P.A. today for a free consultation about your options. Reach us online or by phone at 850-500-1111.