Playground Safety

This is the time of year when trips to the park become frequent, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the risks on playgrounds and how you can prevent injuries.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USPSC), emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children for playground-related injuries each year. Most playground injuries happen when a child falls from the equipment onto the ground. That’s why the best way to prevent injuries is to make sure the surface underneath it can help absorb and soften the impact when children land on it.

Steer clear of hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt. Although grass may look soft, it is not a shock-absorbing surface. The USCPSC recommends a thick layer of one of the following materials, extending at least 6 feet in all directions, underneath play equipment:

  • Wood chips, mulch, sand, or pea gravel (12 or more inches deep)
  • Mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like mats.

It is important for children to have fun, explore, and grow. Children learn through play and need opportunities to take risks, test their limits, and learn new skills through free play. Playgrounds can also put children at risk for concussion.

After a fall or a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body, look for one or more of these signs and symptoms of a concussion:

Signs Observed by Parents

  • Appears dazed or stunned.
  • Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score, or opponent.
  • Moves clumsily.
  • Answers questions slowly.
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly).
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes.
  • Can’t recall events prior to or after a hit or fall.

Symptoms Reported by Children

  • Headache or “pressure” in head.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
  • Bothered by light or noise.
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.
  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down.”

If you see any of these signs or symptoms and think your child has a concussion or other serious brain injury, seek medical attention right away. Remember, signs and symptoms may show up right after the injury, or may not appear or be noticed until hours or days after the injury.