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Playground injuries

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Approximately 156,040 (75.8 %) of the 1999 injuries occurred on equipment designed for public use; 46,930 (22.8 %) occurred on equipment designed for home use; and 2,880 (1.4 %) occurred on homemade playground equipment (primarily rope swings). Percentage of injuries involving public equipment

  • About 46% occurred in schools.
  • About 31% occurred in public parks.
  • About 10% occurred in commercial childcare centers.
  • About 3% occurred in home childcare.
  • About 3% occurred in apartment complexes.
  • About 2% occurred in fast food restaurants.
  • About 9% occurred in other locations.

From January 1990 to August 2000, CPSC received reports of 147 deaths to children younger than 15 that involved playground equipment.

  • 70% of those deaths occurred in home
  • 30% of those deaths occurred in public use

Girls were involved in a slightly higher percentage of injuries (55%) than were boys (45%).

Injuries to the head and face accounted for 49% of injuries to children 0-4, while injuries to the arm and hand accounted for 49% of injuries to children ages 5-14.

For children ages 0-4, climbers (40%) had the highest incidence rates, followed by slides (33%).

For children ages 5-14, climbing equipment (56%) had the highest incidence rates, followed by swings (24%).

Approximately 15% of the injuries were classified as severe, with 3% requiring hospitalization.

The most prevalent diagnoses were fractures (39%), lacerations (22%), contusions/abrasions (20%), strains/sprains (11%).

Falls to the surface was a contributing factor in 79% of all injuries. On home equipment, 81% were associated with falls.

Most injuries on public playground equipment were associated with climbing equipment (53%), swings (19%), and slides (17%).

Based on these statistics and other research, the National Program for Playground Safety advocates that:

  • Adults actively supervise the children in the play environment.
  • Adults choose appropriate developmental equipment for the play environment.
  • Adults provide safe surfacing both in the public use areas and at home for playground equipment.
  • Adults insure that all equipment and surfacing located in the children's play areas be maintained on a regular basis.[1]

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