Is it a reasonable expectation of parents that our children are safe when playing on a playground? Safety standards, especially those related to playground safety surfaces, play a huge role in answering this question. But are the safety standards really safe? It could be argued that they currently are not.
What if any serious injuries have we reduced over the past 30 years? For more than 30 years the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has been gathering and analyzing injury data. During this time, falls to the surface have been the leading cause of playground injuries requiring medical attention. Fall-related injuries continue to be one of the four leading causes of death on playgrounds. The debate on whether the percentage of injuries due to falls has increased or decreased since the CPSC began analyzing injury data will continue but we cannot deny falls are still the number one cause of injuries requiring medical attention.
Just a few weeks ago I received an email alert about a 7-year-old girl’s death on a playground in the State of Washington. This recent death of a young girl has once again placed our public playgrounds under the microscope of media scrutiny. I have a concern with how the media and public playground owners are reacting to this story. Some public agency governing boards and administrators have already taken action even though the facts of the case are still under investigation.