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Your neighborhood playground can be a minefield of hazards

If you are a parent in Pennsylvania, you will naturally want to protect your child from harm. Unfortunately, you cannot keep your children in cocoons, and there are numerous causes for child injuries. Regardless of how much care you take, some incidents that can cause them harm may happen anyway.

Car accidents, medical negligence, pharmaceutical errors, school ground accidents and many other circumstances may injure your child. Sadly, the neglect of others can sometimes result in injuries that leave your child with permanent disabilities that could have life-long consequences.

How safe is your neighborhood playground?

Children love playgrounds, and you might not realize how dangerous these areas can be. Hundreds of thousands of children end up in emergency rooms every year due to playground injuries, and the fact that many other children play there and have fun does not mean that it is safe. As a concerned parent, you can look out for the following potential dangers that The National Playground Safety Institute regards as common playground hazards:

  • Surface coverings -- Cement, gravel, stone, brick, rocks and even grass can make any fall worse. To protect your child's skin and limbs, softer covers such as wood chips or rubber are more appropriate.
  • Fall zone -- A six-foot fall area -- covered in the same soft material -- around any piece of playground equipment can prevent your child from striking another object when he or she falls.
  • Entanglement hazards -- All equipment edges must be smooth and rounded to avoid snagging your child's clothing or hair to cause entanglement that can lead to choking. Sharp, rough edges can also cause cuts, and uncovered areas around the working parts of sea-saws can cause severe injuries if your child's hand should get caught.
  • Railings -- No platform should be without sturdy and strong railings to prevent falls from heights. However, the distance between the bars must be close enough to prevent your child's head from being caught between the rails.
  • Age appropriateness -- A toddler's life can be in danger on playground equipment that is safe for 10-year-olds. Apparatuses for different ages must be in separate areas.
  • Banned equipment -- Authorities have banned specific equipment due to inadequate safety, and some of them may still be in your neighborhood playground. These include monkey bars, trapeze bars, climbing ropes, swinging rings and some heavy swings.
  • Care taking and maintenance -- Signs of shoddy maintenance are red flags that could also be an indication of a caretaker neglecting his or her duties. To prevent child injuries on playgrounds, children should never be without adult supervision because of the different risks for children of various ages.

If your child should suffer a catastrophic injury at a playground as the result of another individual's negligence, you might have grounds for filing a premises liability lawsuit. An experienced attorney can assess damages such as pain and suffering and estimate future losses in the event of any permanent disabilities.

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