National Playground Safety Week Highlights Injury Prevention

According to the Carroll County TimesApril 21 to 25 is National Playground Safety Week. It will also be the 32nd anniversary of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Handbook for Public Playground Safety — this handbook provides safety guidelines for both age-appropriate equipment labeling, and playground surfacing.

Every year, over 200,000 injuries occur on American playgrounds, and about 15% of these injuries end up classified as “severe.” The majority of injuries are preventable by enacting safety measures in local communities. Both caregivers and children need to be aware of the potential hazards a playground presents.

The Carroll County Times points out that “Grass and soil are not good playground surfaces. The ground should be covered 12 inches deep with shredded rubber, hardwood fiber mulch or fine sand.” While these materials will not prevent falls from happening, they can reduce the likelihood that injuries will occur.

Digital Journal points out that a lack of supervision is currently a problem on many playgrounds across the country. Proper supervision can help ensure that children play on age-appropriate equipment, and can limit them from engaging in rough or dangerous behaviors (pushing and shoving, for example) that are more likely to lead to falls and cuts.

“We have a special product that we call ‘playground carpet mulch,'” says Don Saunders, President of Saunders Landscaping Supply. The product is very clean, and very pure. It ensures the safety of children, while minimizing the risk of exposure.”

On April 15, inadequate supervision on a Concord, CT playground led to one boy, Emphram Lake, getting hit in the back of the head during a fight, which resulted in a concussion. “His speech was slurred, he couldn’t remember what day it was, he was very confused, he kept repeating things,” said his mother, Sarah Lake. A scary encounter for any parent, and all the more frustrating for the preventable nature of the incident.

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