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Playground injury statistics

Illinois readers may be saddened to learn that 147 children under 14 years of age died as a result of playground accidents in the decade between 1990 and 2000. Over 200,000 children in this age bracket are given medical treatment in emergency rooms for playground injuries, costing $1.2 billion in a single year.

Playground injury statistics have been compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While 75 percent of non-fatal injuries in the period covered took place on public playgrounds, 70 percent of fatal injuries happened in the child’s own backyard. Climbers are statistically the most dangerous pieces of equipment at public playgrounds, while swings cause the most injuries at home. Over half of playground fatalities are the result of strangulation, while one in five is caused by a fall. Roughly 45 percent of non-fatal playground injuries are concussions, dislocations, internal injuries, severe fractures and amputations.

Certain segments of the child population are more at risk of playground injury than others. Girls have been found to be 10 percent more likely to suffer injury than are boys. Children between the ages of 5 and 9 are the most likely to end up in the emergency room due to a playground incident, and are most likely to suffer their injuries on a school playground. Public playgrounds in low-income neighborhoods are generally more dangerous than those in wealthy areas as well, due to the statistically lower amount of maintenance they receive.

Owners of public and private property are legally responsible for accidents that take place on their premises, especially if that accident was caused by owner negligence or dangerous conditions. Parents of a child who has been injured or killed on a public playground or another family’s playground may wish to contact a premises liability attorney to determine the remedies that may be available.

Source: CDC, “Playground Injuries: Fact Sheet“, December 16, 2014

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