Playground Injuries: Who Can Be Held Liable?

PKSD Newsletter: Playground Safety

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on June 16, 2017 in Firm News
Updated on February 24, 2022

playground filled with kidsWith the start of summer comes more time outdoors and on local playgrounds. While playgrounds are the perfect location for fun, exercise and social interaction, they are also a hotbed for serious accidents and injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 200,000 children under the age of 14 are injured on the playground every year.

Fortunately, there are several things parents can do to help prevent injuries on the playground.

In this issue of the PKSD newsletter, our Milwaukee personal injury lawyers discuss the dangers of playgrounds and the steps parents should take to help ensure the safety of their kids. Learn more by subscribing to our monthly newsletter.

Common Playground Injuries

According to the CDC, there are several injuries that are common on playgrounds:

  • Severe fractures
  • Internal injuries
  • Concussions
  • Dislocations
  • Amputations
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)

More than 60 percent of injuries on playgrounds involve falls or equipment failure, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

More than 10 percent of playground injuries are TBIs, which is damage to the brain from trauma to the head. Furthermore, the CDC reports that the rate of emergency visits for TBIs from playgrounds have increased in recent years.

About two-thirds of all TBI instances occurred at school or places of recreation and involved swings, climbing equipment and monkey bars.

A significant number of playground deaths are a result of strangulation and falls to the playground surface.

Playground Hazards

Because playground injuries can be especially dangerous, parents should always be on the lookout for potential hazards that increase the risk for injury.

According to the CPSC, parents should look out for:

  • Improper fall protective surfaces, which should be made of a soft material like mulch, sand or rubber that is at least 12 inches deep and extends at least six feet in all directions
  • Protrusion hazards, such as hooks, bolts or other hardware that could cut a child or catch their clothing
  • Overcrowded playgrounds that do not have enough space for kids to safely move between equipment
  • Trip hazards like rocks or stumps
  • Sharp edges on equipment
  • Equipment that is not appropriate for the age of your child
  • Platforms with no guardrails
  • Guardrails that are not sturdy

Playground Safety Tips

In addition to looking out for these hazards, there are several additional steps parents can take to help protect their kids. Safe Kids Worldwide recommends following these tips:

  • Inspect playground equipment and report poor maintenance to the school or park leadership
  • Actively supervise your kids while they play
  • Teach your kids that pushing, shoving and crowding is dangerous on the playground
  • Dress your kids appropriately for the playground – no jewelry, scarves or clothing with drawstrings that can get caught and be a strangulation hazard
  • Ensure a separate play area for kids of different ages as they play differently

Who is Liable for a Playground Injury?

Unfortunately, despite your efforts, playground injuries will occur. And, depending on the circumstances of your child’s injury, there are several parties that could potentially be held liable.

Playground Owner

In some situations, the owner of the playground, whether a school, church, private business, restaurant or a local government entity can be held responsible for injuries that occur on its property.

This is because property owners have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of those visiting their property, according to premises liability law.

If the owner fails to properly maintain the property or fails to ensure the safety of visitors, he or she can be held liable for any resulting injuries.

This includes situations involving:

  • Negligent supervision

Third Parties

If the playground owner has hired a third party to design, construct, assemble, maintain or monitor a playground, it could be possible to hold that party liable for any resulting injuries.

Equipment Manufacturer

If a piece of playground equipment is defective and causes an injury, the designer, manufacturer or seller of that equipment or any of its parts could be held liable under product liability law.

Product manufacturers have a legal obligation to ensure their products are safe and do not cause harm to consumers. As a result, they can be held strictly liable for injuries caused by their products.

Playground Injury? Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers

Determining who should be responsible for your child’s injury can be difficult, and obtaining the compensation you deserve from that entity can be complicated.

Our Milwaukee personal injury lawyers will thoroughly investigate your child’s injury to determine who should be held liable. We will then work to build a strong claim that holds him or her liable for the injuries your child suffered.

Contact PKSD today for a free, no obligation consultation to learn more. We do not charge any fess unless we recover compensation for you.

Call 877-877-2228 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form.

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