Hospital emergency rooms treat more than 50,000 children for injuries sustained on backyard playground equipment each year, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, and approximately 15 kids are killed by incidents involving home playground equipment annually. Even playground equipment that looks safe to use may malfunction unexpectedly, according to consumer safety experts. In the majority of cases, children are injured by falling from playground equipment, so safety experts recommend installing swing sets, jungle gyms and other equipment atop an appropriate surface such as sand or pea gravel for equipment up to five feet high and wood fiber or shredded rubber wood mulch for equipment up to seven feet high. In both cases, the surface material should be at least 9 inches deep and extend for at least six feet in every direction, according to safety experts. Adults should also inspect home playground areas for sharp edges, missing hardware such as nuts and bolts, open “S” hooks improperly securing a swing set seat to its chains, missing or unsecured safety rails, and gaps between railings or ladder rungs that are less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches, which can cause a child to become entrapped. Though some playground deaths are caused by falling, the majority are the result of accidental strangulation.
As a personal injury attorney in Fresno, I am hopeful that parents and guardians will follow these safety tips to reduce the risk of injury to their children. If you or someone you care about has been injured by defective equipment, please consider contacting a Long Beach personal injury lawyer.