The Safety of Playgrounds: Injuries on the Rise

Related: Playground Inspections, Playground Installation and Playgrounds Repairs

The number of injuries occurring on playgrounds is rising despite the safety improvements that have been put in place for playground equipment. Every year approximately 28,500 children in Canada require medical treatment as a result of injuries caused by playing on playgrounds. These injuries can range from bruises and broken bones to serious head trauma and spinal cord injuries. These statistics are based on Canadian hospital injury data.

Of those 28,500 children 58% of the children where boys and children within the age of five to nine accounted for nearly 51% of the injured children. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention; of these children, 10% of them gained a concussion because of their injuries.

The author of this study Dr. Tabitha Cheng and her co-authors found, “the annual rate of traumatic brain injury emergency department visits increased significantly from 2005 to 2013”. These numbers are similar in Canada with a dip in injuries occurring around 2005 and then a significant increase in injuries since then according to Dr. Suzanne Beno who is an emergency physician at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Any type of rise in brain injuries should concern the general public, but in this case, it is especially alarming because these are children with developing brains. A brain injury during this time of their lives could severely hinder their future development.

So what can you do?

  • Parents need to be prepared to ensure their child gets medical attraction if they even suspect that their child has a head injury.
  • Ensure that adult supervision is always on the children playing.
  • Ensure that the playground your children play on receives regular inspections and maintenance.
  • Ensure regular maintenance is occurring on playground surfaces and their environments.
  • You can tell the playground surfaces need to be updated is if it looks worn or feels too hard.

One of the reasons why adult supervision is so important is to ensure that someone is always available if an injury occurs. You don’t have to hover over your child, but being there just in case something does happen can help to ensure that the child receives the appropriate medical attention promptly.

  • Some of the signs of a concussion that you should be on the lookout for include:
    • Changes in behaviour.
    • Physical Symptoms can include headaches, nausea and dizziness.
    • Cognitive or thinking symptoms can include the child feeling like they are trying to thinking through a fog.
    • Sleep issues.
    • Emotional or mental health symptoms, which can include increased irritability or increased sadness.

If you notice any of these symptoms, you need to ensure that you seek medical attention right away because a child’s developing brain is much more vulnerable to the impact of a concussion, and the sooner they get medical help the sooner they can start to recover!

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