Playground Concussions and Child Injuries
When your child plays outside during school recess or visits the playground at a local park, should you be concerned about the risk of a traumatic brain injury (TBI)? According to a recent article, a new government study reported that playground injuries have risen in recent years. A majority of those child injuries involve concussions sustained while playing on monkey bars or swing sets. Although many of the head injuries were mild, parents should nonetheless be aware of the hazards of playground equipment as even a mild TBI—a concussion is one form of mild traumatic brain injury—can have long-lasting consequences.
The study was published in Pediatrics, and it reported that the rate of playground-related TBIs nearly doubled between 2005 and 2013. By 2013, nearly 30,000 children were receiving medical treatment for concussions.
The study is particularly important because it emphasizes the fact that sports-related concussions are not the only kind of head injury common among children. Common childhood recreational activities, including playground time, can lead to TBIs.
Preventing Child Concussions and Playground Injuries
In order to prevent serious head injuries on playground equipment, it is important to think carefully about whether some children are at greater risk of sustaining a concussion than others. The article cites some of the following statistics from the study:
- About 50% of all playground TBIs occurred in kids between the ages of five and nine; and
- Playground head injuries were more common among boys than girls.
How can parents know if their children may have sustained a concussion? According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of a childhood concussion include but are not limited to:
- Severe headache;
- Confusion; and
What can parents do to help prevent a concussion on the playground? The study recommends the following:
- Only allow your kids to use the monkey bars and swings at playgrounds with soft surfaces, like sand or wood chips (as most concussions result from falls off this equipment);
- Supervise your children closely, regardless of the type of playground equipment they are using;
- Check to ensure that playground equipment is in good condition before allowing your child to play; and
- Only allow your child to use playground equipment that is “right for your child’s age.”
If your child sustained injuries in an accident, you should discuss your case with an experienced child injury lawyer.