Playing It Safe On The Playground
Do you remember being in elementary school? After a day full of learning, there was probably nothing you loved more than eagerly rushing outside with your classmates for recess! Like many people, you probably have fond memories of leaping between monkey bars, flying high on squeaky swings, or playing with your friends on slides, merry-go-rounds, and other playground equipment.
While your memories of playgrounds are hopefully pleasant, that isn’t always the case. According to the Center for Disease Control, emergency departments treat an annual average of more than 200,000 children under the age of 14 for playground injuries. Dozens of children are treated every year for injuries like fractures and breaks, internal bleeding, concussions and other types of head trauma, dislocations, and amputations. Between 2001 and 2008, 40 deaths were associated with playground equipment, with the majority of fatalities resulting from asphyxiation or trauma after a fall.
According to the National Program for Playground Safety, 61% of injuries occur on public playground equipment. This includes playgrounds in public parks, but also includes playgrounds at public schools. For parents, this is a scary statistic. It means that their child could be injured when they are under someone else’s care.
However, there are ways that a parent can hold a school, teacher, or staff member liable for their child’s injuries. To find that a school was liable for a child’s injuries, the parents or guardians must prove that:
- The school was in charge of the property
- The injured child was the type of person that the school could expect to be on the playground. The child was a student, therefore, it was expected that they would go to recess and be on the playground. Someone who sneaks onto the playground outside of school hours, on the other hand, is not the type of person the school would expect to be on the property
- The school did not exercise the proper amount of care
- The child was injured in a foreseeable way. For example, if there was a hard surface underneath the monkey bars, it would be foreseeable that a child might fall and injure themselves
- The school’s carelessness was a major cause of the child’s injury
During the school day, school officials, teachers, and other staff members act in loco parentis. This means that they act in the place of the parents. Therefore, they are subjected to administering a greater standard of care. They have agreed to supervise the child in place of the parents. If they fail to reasonably do so, they are breaching that standard of care.
Of course, many playground injuries occur simply because of the roughhousing and recklessness that comes with being a kid. If you are a parent, teach your child to stay safe on the playground, regardless of its location.
- Teach kids not to shove, run, push, or otherwise roughhouse on the playground. Remind them that they should use the playground equipment appropriately
- Make sure kids are dressed appropriately before they head off to school or the local playground. They shouldn’t wear any necklaces, scarves, or sweatshirts with strings. These things could get caught on equipment, leading to a strangulation hazard
- Check to make sure that all the playground equipment is well-maintained, clean, and appropriate for your child’s age group
The playground is a perfect place for kids to get fresh air and exercise, and allows them the chance to play with friends and wear off some energy. Regardless of if a playground is at a school, daycare, park, or even in your own backyard, teach your kids to be safe on the playground, so that they can grow up with happy memories of the playground, just like you did.
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.