Play is an important part of childhood. Despite the improvements in playground equipment and surfacing and messages about the importance of supervision on playgrounds, 235,000 children are seen in U.S. hospital emergency rooms with injuries associated with playground equipment each year. Most injuries occur when a child falls from the equipment onto the ground.
This webinar, scheduled to highlight Playground Safety Week, began with an overview of a 20-year project promoting playground safety from the National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS). With a growing understanding of the importance of play, NPPS shared information related to advocating for SAFE (Supervision, Age Appropriate, Fall Surfacing, Equipment Maintenance) inclusive and high quality play areas that support child development and reduce unintentional childhood injuries. An overview of playground injuries was shared, along with a description of the agencies and organizations that have issued recognized guidelines and standards that address playground safety. In addition, webinar participants learned about improvements that have been made to Chicago playgrounds through the Safe at Play project at the Injury Prevention and Research Center at Lurie Children's Hospital. These improvements include the large scale survey projects at the Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Schools as well as smaller scale playground initiatives such as childcare facility playground checks and small playground builds. Participants learned strategies and resources for keeping children safe on public playgrounds.
Reference: Lawrence BA, Spicer RS, Miller TR (2015). A fresh look at the costs of non-fatal consumer product injuries. Injury Prevention, 21(1):23-9.