Few destinations bring more joy to a child than the playground. To be fair, they’re typically more fun during the weekend or summer vacation than school hours. But even at school the play area can be a delight – and a most welcome break from the classroom setting.
Yet, no matter where the playground is located, in order to avoid common injuries, safety must be top priority. According to the Canadian Institute of Health Information, in 2014-15, over 1800 children in Canada under the age of 18 required hospitalization due to a playground injury. And 77 hospitalizations during that period were a result of brain injuries suffered on playgrounds, 60 of which occurred in children aged 0 to 9.
But your child can have fun without getting hurt if you and their school follow these rules – and you teach your child to do the same.
- Proper clothing
Make sure your child doesn’t wear clothes that are too loose or that have drawstrings, and scarves which can catch on a playground structure and potentially choke them. Helmets should not be worn while playing. And shoes must remain on their feet at all times.
- Equipment safety
Before a guardian allows any child to enter a playground, the equipment it houses should be checked to ensure its safety. Is everything properly installed? Is every structure anchored strongly into the ground? Is it in good shape and has it been maintained? Equipment should come with sturdy handrails and barriers to keep children from falling. It’s also important that the child is of the right height, age and ability for the particular structure they want to play with or on.
- Proper surfaces
Some playground surfaces are not as safe for children to play in, including, asphalt and concrete and even grass. Safer surfaces are those that can better absorb a fall. Examples include sand, wood chips and synthetic materials—such as shredded rubber.
- Sufficient supervision
Whether it’s a parent, a teacher, supervisor or guardian, a child should be supervised properly while on the playground. Researchers have found, in fact, that a lack of supervision is linked with nearly half of playground-related injuries. There’s a reasonable expectation that the supervisor at a school playground not oversee too many children at once – and that they can urgently help a child if and when needed.
- Limit risky behavior
Children should understand that certain behavior is not tolerated on the playground. Shoving, bullying or crowding fellow children, for example, can prove dangerous.
We can help
Despite all the precautions you take as a parent or that teachers take, accidents can – and do – happen to your children. If your child was hurt while playing on a school playground and you believe the injury was caused by a lack of proper maintenance of the play area or improper supervision of the children, you may have a right to compensation.
Howie, Sacks & Henry is proud of our dedicated team of lawyers who work hard to help people and their families recover the compensation they deserve due to injury. If you would like to discuss your options, please contact Michael Henry at 416-361-0889, firstname.lastname@example.org.