Is a City, School, Day Care Center Summer Camp, or Park Liable for Personal Injuries / Deaths Related to Use or Play on Swing Sets?

Swing-Set-150x150Swing sets are commonly placed, seen, and maintained on playgrounds.  When a child is injured during the use of swings on a playground, there may be liability or responsibilities on the part off the city, school, day care center, and / or owner of the property where the swing set is located.  There should be a distinction made between a person, business, or other entity who / that is the supervisor of children and a person, business, or other entity who / that is the owner of the property where the playground / swing set is located.
Supervision of Children
When a child is under the care and supervision of a school, day care center, summer camp, or other program, it is important that reasonable and necessary care be provided to the child.  Playground equipment and play should be age appropriate. Furthermore, children should be supervised in a reasonably careful manner.  Rough or dangerous play should be stopped immediately.  Swings are a known hazard for those playing around the swings and for those children on the swings.  As such, child care providers and supervisors should be on the look out for dangerous play that may result in personal injuries including injuries related to strangulation during playground use.  If a child while using swings is twisting and turning around, a child care provider should immediately step in as this is not the proper or safe use of the swing set.  If the dangerous play continues, the child care provider should promptly remove the child from the swing set area.
Property Owner – Playground – Swing Set – Park
The duties expected of the owner of a playground or swing set may be a bit different that the supervisor of children.  For instance, let’s say that there is a swing set on city property.  A child goes and plays on the swing set.  A city (under most instances) does not have a duty to provide supervision at a playground area.  If a child uses the playground equipment, he or she does so at his or her risk or peril UNLESS the playground equipment is in disrepair or inappropriate for use by any children.  The question of duty may be a key one when evaluating the liability of a city or county for playground related injuries that are not associated with the failure to supervise or negligent supervision. For instance, the issue of duty may arise as follows:  Was it negligent or careless of the city or county to place a swing set of this nature at the playground or park?  The same analysis may apply when evaluating the placement of monkey bars at parks.
For most injury related cases, there are four elements to prove or establish as part of the civil case:
1 – Duty;
2 – Breach of Duty;
3 – Causation; and
4 – Damages
All four elements must be established to pursue a case or claim on behalf of the injured child.  Damages refer to the injuries sustained.  As such, the fact that a child suffers a serious injury is just one of the four elements.  The existence of an injury is not and should not be the entire case.
David Wolf is a personal injury attorney with over 27 years of experience.  Based in Jacksonville, Florida, he handles personal injury cases and child injury cases throughout the State of Florida.  He is the author of 11 books including the book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know. The book has chapters on Playground Injuries, School Injuries, Amusement Park and Theme Park Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.