Playground Injuries Are Not Child’s Play

Playground Injuries Are Not Child’s Play Children are resilient – at least, that is what the experts say. And it seems to be true more often than not. It is not uncommon for a child to fall down and then pop back up almost immediately, without suffering any serious injuries. At other times, they may require a quick once-over from a parent or other caregiver to ensure they have not been hurt before getting back to the business of playing.

But not every time; childhood accidents resulting in serious or even deadly injuries can and do occur, and there are myriad ways in which a child can suffer a severe injury. For instance, playground equipment, a mainstay of childhood, presents a significant yet often overlooked risk – particularly for falls.

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), “falls account for 90% of the most severe playground-related injuries.” They typically result in head injuries and fractures, with head injuries “involved in 75% of all fall-related deaths associated with playground equipment.”

The majority – more than 70% – of injuries that occur on or around playground equipment involve falls to the surface. An additional 9% involve falls onto equipment.

Playground equipment, which may include swings, slides, jungle gyms, climbing walls, monkey bars, or any of the numerous other features commonly included in children’s swing parks and playgrounds, must be properly designed, constructed, installed, and maintained. Anything less can result in a child suffering a serious injury or even death. Injuries can occur on or around any piece of playground equipment, however, per the South Carolina DHEC, “swings, climbing equipment, and slides account for more than 94% of playground equipment related injuries.”

When those injuries occur on someone else’s property, that person or entity may be responsible.

Common injuries from playground equipment

Playground equipment is meant to be played on, and that is exactly what children do. They climb and jump and squeeze through any space large enough to accommodate their body. The people who design and build playground equipment study the ways in which children play, and consider these factors when creating and building safe playground equipment. However, this is not always the case and children can be injured as a result. Those injuries may include:

  • Broken bones
  • Bruises
  • Concussions
  • Cuts and scrapes, including cuts that may require stitches
  • Fractures
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)
  • Sprains and other soft-tissue damage

What to do if your child is injured on playground equipment in South Carolina

One moment your child is playing and the next moment they are crying. Every parent knows their child’s cry, and the different types of cries, and every parent dreads the cry that indicates their child is in serious physical pain. Even worse, however, is when a child is injured and cannot cry – whether due to falling and having the wind knocked out of them in a fall or being knocked unconscious. In any scenario when a child is injured, it is crucial that their parent or caregiver react appropriately for the situation.

If your child is injured while playing on playground equipment, it is important that you do your best to stay calm and:

  • Check your child for injuries. This is an obvious, almost unconscious action for any experienced parent or caregiver, and most bumps, bruises, or scrapes may require nothing more than some ice, a good cleaning and adhesive bandage, and perhaps a hug. However, there are some injuries that may initially seem minor only to prove much more serious. This is especially true of any injuries to the head, neck, or back. It is critical that your child be examined by a medical professional if they have suffered a fall or made heavy contact with playground equipment or the ground or other surface. Head injuries in particular may present as mild when in fact a bleed could have occurred. It is always best to take your child to their pediatrician immediately or to the emergency room to be examined, just in case.

    Certain cuts may require stitches or medical glue to close and heal properly and without developing an infection. If your child suffers a cut to their face you may want to have them seen by a physician – specifically a plastic surgeon. Having a cut on the face stitched up by an emergency room doctor may be fine, but it is best to consult with a plastic surgeon in order to avoid scarring or other potentially lifelong disfigurement.

    Additionally, broken bones are not always obvious but can lead to serious complications requiring surgery and / or physical therapy if left undiagnosed and untreated for too long. When in doubt, take your child to their doctor or to the emergency room just to be safe.

  • Contact emergency services for assistance. If your child has fallen and is not moving or cannot move, or if you suspect any type of neck or back injury, do not move them. Call 9-1-1 immediately and wait for emergency medical technicians to arrive. Moving your child on your own may exacerbate any potential injuries. Instead, follow all instructions provided by the 9-1-1 operator, which may include checking your child’s pulse and breathing, administering rescue breaths if necessary, and keeping the child warm until first responders arrive on the scene.
  • Keep an eye on them. If your child falls at the playground but seems fine and you do not detect any bumps or signs of serious injury, be sure to keep a close eye on them. Some injuries like concussions are not always obvious at first glance but may present symptoms in the hours and even days after the accident occurred. Monitoring your child’s mood, behavior, and sleeping and eating patterns after an accident may alert you to any potential issues.
  • Check with your child’s pediatrician. In general, it is a good idea to at least call your pediatrician any time your child takes a serious tumble or is or could be seriously injured on playground equipment. In addition to ensuring your child is safe and healthy, and restoring your peace of mind, contacting your physician documents the incident and any potential injuries your child may have suffered. A somewhat minor injury that does not heal properly or results in other physical complications for your child may require additional medical care. This can become expensive and time consuming, to say nothing of the additional pain it may cause your child. For legal and insurance purposes, it is best to have a record of the injury and any necessary treatment.

If your child suffered a serious injury while playing on or around playground equipment that was poorly designed or improperly constructed, installed, or maintained, it is important that you speak with a South Carolina child injury attorney. Depending on the type of injury and the severity, your child may suffer lifelong consequences and require ongoing medical treatment and care. Their entire future may be altered due to the negligence of the property owner or playground equipment manufacturer. The medical expenses, along with the time you must take away from work in order to care for your child and take them to medical appointments, can become a serious financial burden for your family. It is only fair that the persons or entity responsible for your child’s injuries shoulder some of that financial burden.

With so much at stake, it is imperative that you have an experienced South Carolina child injury attorney fighting to help ensure you receive fair compensation for your child’s injuries and ongoing treatment and care. The South Carolina child injury lawyers at McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC stand ready to help. Give us a call at 803-327-7800 or reach out to us via our contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our South Carolina child injury attorneys.