JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Playground season is almost always here with the beautiful Florida weather. But the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is sounding the alarm over the biggest reasons for dangerous playground accidents.
A playground equipment report issued by CPSC shows that from 2009-2014, 19 of 34 fatal playground incidents it investigated were the result of hanging or asphyxiation.
CPSC said during the same time period, about 1.5 million injuries associated with playground equipment were treated nationally in emergency departments, with more than half of the victims being between the ages of 5 and 9. In addition, the most common diagnoses were fractures and abrasions.
According to the report, monkey bars and swings account for the majority of the injuries, but slides were to blame for one-fifth of the injuries.
As National Playground Safety Week is observed, CPSC suggests some playground safety golden rules.
- Always supervise children and make sure they use playground equipment that is appropriate for their age.
- Never attach ropes, jump ropes, pet leashes or strings to playground equipment -- children can be strangled on them.
- Make sure children’s clothing does not have any drawstrings, as they can catch on slides and other equipment.
- Make sure surfaces around playgrounds have 9-12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel or mats made of safety-tested rubber.
- Check that protective surfacing extends at least 6 feet in all directions from play equipment. For swings, be sure surfacing extends, in back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar. Look out for tripping hazards, such as exposed concrete footings, tree stumps and rocks.
- Don’t let children play on slides or other surfaces that are burning hot. If a surface feels hot when touched, it may be too hot for a child’s bare skin.
The agency says if parents believe their children's playground is not safe, they should report their concerns to the appropriate owner, park district, school district or city.
Children just want to have fun, and they should. But CPSC wants to make sure they do it safely.