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Playgrounds provide a fun environment for children to play and exercise. Although these devices can be fun and enjoying for children and their families, playgrounds can also be dangerous. Playground-related injuries can vary in severity: personal injuries can be as minor as a scratch or scrap or as serious as a broken bone or even death. The Consumer Product Safety Commission conducted a study more than 10 years ago that revealed more child deaths occurred on background playground equipments then on public grounds. The CPSC also conducted a study in 2009 that revealed 40 child deaths were associated with playground equipment between 2001 to 2008. The majority of those 40 deaths were the result of hangings or asphyxiations. If you are planning to build a playground set in your backyard consider the following tips:
1. Location. Consider the accessibility of the playground set. Can the equipment be seen from a window? If an accident should occur is it within close distance to the home? It is common for children to play on playgrounds while their parents are inside. Therefore make sure the playground set is visible and you can hear the children while playing.
2. Equipment. Some playground equipment can be more dangerous than others. A CPSC study revealed that climbers caused 23% of all playground-related personal injuries and swing sets were associated with 22%. Make sure to adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions when installing playground equipment.
3. Surfaces. A CPSC study revealed that 67% of playground-related personal injuries occurring between 2001 and 2008 involved falls or equipment failure. Plan for these falls by installing impact-absorbing surfaces beneath the playground equipment.
4. Inspection. Overtime playground equipment experiences the normal wear-and-tear. Parents should routinely inspect equipment to ensure it is holding up and still safe for children to play on.
For more read Playground installation safety tips for parents and families.