Physician Advise How to Keep Kids Safe on the Playground this Summer
Every year, emergency physicians see more than 200,000 children with playground-related injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These injuries are diverse, from head injuries, to fractures, internal bleeding and others. More than 20,000 of these children are treated for traumatic brain injury, including concussion.
Facts about Playground Injuries:
- More than half of playground-related injuries are fractures, contusions and/or abrasions.
- About 75 percent of nonfatal injuries involving playground equipment occur on public playgrounds, most of which are at schools and daycare centers.
- The overall rate of emergency visits for playground-related traumatic brain injury has increased significantly in recent years, according to the CDC.
Ways to Prevent Playground Injuries:
- Closely supervise any young child on a playground. Older children also need adult supervision.
- Make sure the playground facility is properly maintained. Are there broken pieces of equipment? Is there trash or broken bottles nearby that can cause injury? Does the playground have adequate cushioning to prevent injury?
- Children should never crowd the playground. If you cannot safely monitor a child because too many children are using the equipment, choose another time to play.
- Make sure the playground equipment is age appropriate. Younger children get injured playing on equipment that is meant for older children.
- Older children should stay away from playground equipment reserved for younger children to avoid injuring those who are physically smaller. Areas for preschool children should be separate from the areas of school-age children.
- Children should not wear hoods or clothing with strings on a playground. These can block the child’s peripheral vision and also create choking hazards.
- Teach your child to follow safety rules. Children should not run, push or shove others while on a playground. They also should not walk in the path of a moving swing or climb a slide instead of using the ladder.
SOURCE American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)
Dr. Dale Peterson is a graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Medicine. He completed his residency in FamilyMedicine at the University of Oklahoma. He is a past president of the Oklahoma Academy of Family Physicians. He had a full-time family practice in Edmond, Oklahoma, for over 20 years and was a Chief of Staff of the Edmond Hospital. He was active in teachingfor many years as a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine through the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center.
Dr. Peterson left his full-time family practice in 1999 to consult with individuals who are seeking ways to restore and maintain their health through improved nutrition and other lifestyle changes. He founded the Wellness Clubs of America to give people access to credible information on supporting and maintaining their health. His monthly wellness letter, Health by Design, and his Health by Design E-Newsletter provide helpful information to individuals interested in preventing and conquering health challenges. His book Building Health by Design: Adding Life to Your Years and Years to Your Life was released in December 2010.
Dr. Peterson speaks regularly on subjects related to health and nutrition. He hosted a weekly radio program,Your Health Matters, on KTOK in Oklahoma City for five years. For the past nine years he has addressed questions from across the nation on his Your Health Matters weekly teleconference.He offers a free video LifeXtension course at www.drdalepeterson.com.