Playground injuries that need a trip to the ER


As the classrooms start to fill up again, so will the playgrounds.  And while kids have a lot of fun, there can also be a lot of accidents. According to the  Centers for Disease Control, over 200,000 children under age 14 are treated in emergency rooms for playground-related injuries each year. As parents, it's important to know what type of injury warrants a trip to the emergency room.

"There are some injuries which must go to the ED (Emergency Department.) Obvious deformities of the arm, any allergic reactions, any bad lacerations that probably need to be fixed with sutures," explained Dr. Purva Grover, a pediatric emergency room doctor at Cleveland Clinic Children's.

Grover says sometimes head injuries can be tricky and it may be hard to know when a trip to the er is necessary, especially if you didn't witness the fall yourself.

"The child will fall down and complain about it hours later and you don't know how intense that was and low and behold he throws up once, yeah, that's a time I would take a child to the ED," she added.

It's also not uncommon for kids to accidentally knock out a tooth if they fall or play sports. Not much can be done for a child with baby teeth but for kids who have permanent teeth, ER doctors might be able to put the tooth back. Grover recommends putting the tooth in milk, or even water, and getting to the ER, fast.

"The older kids, they have a span of about 20-25 minutes before the tooth needs to be put back in," she said.

Grover adds that if a child can't use a limb after a fall, it's time to get an x-ray in the emergency room to rule out a fracture.  She insists, if you're worried about any injury to your child, don't hesitate to go to the er for evaluation.

According to the National Program for Playground Safety, the most common playground injuries are:

  • Fractures- 36%
  • Contusions/Abrasions- 20%
  • Lacerations- 17%
  • Strains and Sprains- 12%
  • Internal/ Organs- 5%
  • Concussions- 2%
  • Other- 3%