Summer vacation is over, and most Alabama kids are back in school. When we send our kids back to school (or to the day care center for younger children), there are a lot of safety concerns that can keep us up at night. We hope and pray that our kids can get safely to and from school on the bus, and that they will not be bullied during the school day. Another cause for concern is what happens on the playground during recess.
When we are the ones watching our kids play, we never take our eyes off of them. We are trained to watch their every move and be aware of any signs of impending danger. This, of course, is not the case when our kids are in school or daycare. We have to rely on others to do that for us, and we have to hope that they watch our kids as intently as we would.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 200,000 children ages 14 and under are treated in emergency rooms each year for playground-related injuries. Many of these injuries can be severe and even life-threatening.
Some of the most common playground injuries children suffer include:
- Scratches, cuts, and bruises;
- Concussions and other head injuries;
- Broken bones;
- Internal injuries.
What Causes Playground Injuries?
There are several reasons playground accidents may occur. These include:
- Broken Down or Faulty Playground Equipment: Some Alabama schools have playground equipment that is several years or in some cases several decades old. With ongoing wear and tear year after year, this equipment can start to deteriorate to the point of becoming hazardous. Wood rots, rust builds up, ropes become frail, screws fall out, and equipment often falls apart while children are playing on it. There are other instances when brand new equipment causes hazards due to a faulty design.
- Poor Supervision: As mentioned earlier, children need to be watched closely while they are on the playground. We as parents do this instinctively, but unfortunately, those we entrust our kids with do not always make the safety of the children under their care a priority. When kids are not properly supervised on the playground, they can get into all sorts of trouble.
- Damaged/Uneven Surfaces: Children playing on surfaces that have cracks in them or that are uneven in certain areas can lead to slip, trip, and fall accidents on the playground.
- Other Children: Kids running around and having fun are not always as safety-conscious as they should be. This can lead to collisions with other kids, causing those involved to get seriously hurt. Another common issue is kids who simply behave badly. Examples include kids who push, hit, punch, or throw objects at other kids.
Staying Safe on Alabama Playgrounds
With so many potential playground hazards, we as parents need to be proactive and take steps to keep our children safe, even when we are not able to be there to watch them. Here are some helpful playground safety tips:
- Dress your Kids Properly: We do not mean dress your kids up formally, like when you are going out to a fancy restaurant. We mean keep their play clothes free of hazards. Avoid loose clothing, scarves, and any material that might get caught on playground equipment.
- Talk to your Kids about Playground Safety: Training is one of the best ways to keep your children safe on the playground. Teach them the safest way to handle playground equipment. Also talk with them about the dangers of running too fast and/or not being aware of trip hazards when they run around.
- Speak with Adult Supervisors: Your child’s teachers or playground supervisors may not be as invested in their safety as you are, but if you communicate your concerns to them, they are far more likely to give your child the attention he/she deserves. The beginning of the school year is a good time to have a talk with those who will be charged with looking after your kids this year.
Negligence for Playground Injuries
If your child suffers serious harm on the playground, you may have a right to compensation. If the injury is the fault of the property owner (in this case the school or daycare center), it could fall under the purview of the legal theory known as “premises liability.” Land owners owe a duty to exercise reasonable care to keep their property safe. When they fail to live up to that duty and children are harmed as a result, they must be held accountable. If the injury is a result of faulty or defective playground equipment, the designer, manufacturer, or distributor may be held liable. This would fall under the legal theory known as “product liability.”
Speak with a Seasoned Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer
If your child has been injured on a playground because of the negligent or reckless actions of another party, it is important to fully understand your rights and options. At Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce & Thompson LLP, we have extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of the complexities of premises liability and product liability cases. We work closely with clients, thoroughly investigating their case and exploring all potential legal avenues to ensure that they obtain full damages for the injuries sustained. Call us today at (334) 821-3892 or send us a message through our web contact form for a free case evaluation. You may also stop by our office on E. Glenn Ave. in Auburn to discuss your case.