The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that hospital emergency rooms treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground related injuries.
About 45% of playground related injuries are serious; some of the serious injuries include:
The CDC also reports that about 75% of nonfatal playground related injuries occur on public playgrounds, and most occur at schools and daycare centers.
Playground accidents can occur for several reasons. This article will address playground accidents that happen due to dangerous play structures and insufficient supervision.
Schools or parties responsible for the conditions of playground structures need to make sure that they are in good repair. Conditions of play structures and equipment must comply with Pennsylvania law.
55 Pa. Code, Chapter 3270 outlines the law pertaining to child care centers. Relevant sections of the chapter relate to conditions of play equipment. Section 3270.102 provides:
(a) Toys, play equipment and other indoor and outdoor equipment used by the children must be clean, in good repair and free from rough edges, sharp corners, pinch and crush points, splinters and exposed bolts.
(b) Toys soiled by secretion or excretion shall be cleaned with soap and water, rinsed and sanitized before being used by a child.
(c) Outdoor equipment that requires embedded mounting must be mounted over a loose-fill or unitary playground protective surface covering that meets the recommendations of the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. The equipment must be anchored firmly and be in good repair.
(d) Slides that are over 4 feet high must have guards along both sides of the ladder.
(e) Pea gravel and other materials with a diameter of less than 1 inch may not be used in spaces where infants or toddlers receive care.
(f) Indoor play equipment for climbing shall be installed or used over a protective surface covering which does not interfere with the stability of the equipment.
(g) Children’s toys and equipment, including furniture and rest equipment, described as hazardous by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission may not be used by children at the facility and may not be on the premises at the facility. At the time of inspection, the operator shall submit to the Department written affirmation on a form provided by the Department stating that the facility is in compliance with this requirement.
Therefore, if a child is injured on a school playground due to a play structure that is not in good repair, the school may be liable for the child's injuries.
The child's parents may file a personal injury lawsuit against the school on behalf of their child as the child's natural parent and/or guardian.
Click here to read part 2 of the article which addresses PA playground accidents due to insufficient supervision.
If your child was injured on a playground, your child may have legal rights. Call Daniel J. O'Brien, a PA and NJ personal injury lawyer to schedule a FREE consultation. 877.944.8396