Every year, more than 200,000 child playground injuries nationally prompt a trip to a hospital emergency room, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three-fourths of these occur on public playgrounds (schools and parks), and nearly 60 percent involve broken bones, contusions and abrasions. More than 20,000 are treated for traumatic brain injuries. Falls account for 70 percent of playground injuries. Slides and swings account for most injuries among children under 4, while climbing equipment is involved with most kids 5 to 14. Parents may be tempted to chalk up the incident to “just an accident,” but West Palm Beach injury attorneys know many times, these injuries occur because someone was negligent.
When it comes to liability, our personal injury lawyers will look at the incident from all angles. Manufacturers and distributors can be liable when playground equipment is defectively designed or put together. Property owners can be held legally responsible if they failed to maintain the equipment as specified by the manufacturer. Schools, daycares and caregivers can sometimes be held to account when there is evidence of failure to adequately supervise (as accounts for 45 percent of playground injuries, according to the American Trauma Society).
In 2016, Florida legislators proposed Senate Bill 406, the Playground Safety Act, which called for requiring certain new and existing playgrounds to comply with specified safety standards and guidelines and authorized counties and cities to require playground permits and charge fees for the construction or renovation of certain playgrounds. Unfortunately, the measure died in committee. West Palm Beach injury attorneys can still refer to the fact that Florida public schools are guided by the State Requirement for Educational Facilities (SREF), provisions of which require separate kindergarten playgrounds and mandate all playgrounds and equipment comply with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Handbook for Public Playground Safety, which outlines ASTM specifications for just about every type of playground equipment imaginable. Playgrounds that don’t meet these guidelines can be dangerous. Continue reading