Articles Posted in Playground & Recreation Injuries

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By Sara Schlafstein, Law Clerk and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

In the State of Washington as well as other States, playgrounds provide children a place to have fun and be active.  Playgrounds allow children to move around, use their imagination, and interact with their friends.  To have fun, playgrounds should be a place where there can be a certain amount of adventure.  This must be tempered with safety and adult supervision.  Unfortunately, playgrounds can be the site of serious personal injuries or even the death of a child when equipment is in disrepair, equipment is not age appropriate for the children in and around the playground, equipment is dangerous, and / or there is a lack of supervision.   While most playgrounds are designed with safety in mind and provide a great environment for children, adult supervision should always be provided because most playgrounds have swigns, ropes, monkey bars, and / or elevated areas in which a child can be injured.  Furthermore, children need to be supervised to make sure that the playground is being used as designed.  Furthermore, any time that children play in the same area, there is always a risk of rough play, bullying, and other acts that can and do lead to the injury of a child.

It was reported by several media outlets that Stormy Solis (a 7 year old girl) died as a result of  a swing set related injury at Fisher’s Landing Elementary School in Vancouver, Washington. According to the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s office, the 7-year-old girl suffered a fatal closed head injury. After falling off the school’s swing set, she reportedly felt dizzy upon her arrival home, and was later found sick in her bedroom that day. She was then taken to a medical center and diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, and later transferred to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. She was taken off life support by her doctors on the morning of Friday, October 3, 2014. This tragic event has led to changes in playground policies in certain Washington counties.

As a result of the accident, two Washington school districts, Spokane and Richland, are removing swing sets from all school playgrounds. The decision is garnering mixed criticism from parents in the area. The incident, however, raises important questions regarding swing sets on playgrounds and the extent to which they should be restricted or banned. See School District Removes Swing Sets Following Death of Child Resulting from Playground Injury.

Due to the motion and heights associated with swing sets, personal injuries can result especially when a child falls off of a swing or jumps off of a swing in motion.   A child can also be injured if he or she walks too close to another child in motion on a swing set.  With proper adult supervision and use of the swings by the children, most swing set related injuries can be avoided.

Most personal  injuries come from misuse of equipment such as standing on the seats, or walking closely behind or in front of a swing. To some, banning swing sets from a playground may seem drastic or an exaggerated reaction to an isolated incident.   To others, the banning of swing sets makes the playground that much safer and better protects the children.

Most playgrounds these days still have swing sets in place.  Playground supervisors should adhere to certain guidelines to prevent swing set related injuries. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety website (www.cpsc.gov), swings should be placed far enough apart from each other to prevent injuries resulting from impact between moving swings. As such, it is suggested that swing spacing be:

– At least 8 inches between suspended swings and between a swing and the support frame.

– At least 16 inches from suing support frame to a pendulum see- saw.

– Minimum clearance between the ground and underside of swing seat should be 8 inches.

– Swing sets should be securely anchored.

In addition, authorities should create a no-access zone around the swing set to prevent children on the ground from coming into contact with a moving swing. Beneath the swing set, there should be a shock absorbent material rather than a hard material such as concrete. Supervisors should monitor the children at all times to make sure that children are using the swing set equipment properly (such as refraining from standing on the seats or roughhousing in close proximity to the equipment, etc.). Adults should use necessary disciplinary action when safety rules are broken to prevent serious injuries. For more information on swing set and playground safety tips, see Playground Safety Tips.

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know - has chapters on Playground Injuries, Sports Related Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, and other topics.  This is a wonderful resource for parents seeking some information when dealing with the aftermath of a child injury.

 

 

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By Sara Schlafstein, Law Clerk and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In Vancouver, Washington and other cities, children can often be found on school, public, and day care center playgrounds. Physical activity is an important part of the school day and can help enhance the education experience for children. It is important when children are in the playground that safety precautions are taken. Day care center works, teachers, and staff members should provide attentive supervision. While mobile phones are great tools, mobile phones can also be a distraction for adults charged with the responsibility of playground supervision. All parts of the playground should be supervised.

Any rough play should be discontinued and appropriate discipline should be handed out if a particular child is misusing the equipment and / or causing a dangerous situation to persist on the playground itself. Discipline can include “time outs” and removal from the playground area. Many playgrounds are equipped with swings which can present a danger with normal use. Children, not on the swings, should keep a safety distance from the swing set area. Otherwise, serious injuries can result to the child on swing and / or the child on the ground. In addition, staff members should keep a close eye on the use of the swings and if a child seems to be swinging too high on a particular swing.

In Vancouver, Washington, KOIN 6 News and other media outlets reported that a student enrolled at Fisher’s Landing Elementary School suffered serious personal injuries. It was reported that the child may have been injured when using the schools swing set. The incident is currently under investigation. For further details about the incident and investigation, see Child Dies Following Playground Incident at Fisher’s Landing Elementary School.

Parents should ask schools and day care centers about policy and procedures for playground use. Parents should be informed about the number of supervisors and the rules that the children must follow during playground activities. Parents should also take the time review any school board rules and policies if the playground is located at a public school.

Safe Kids is a worldwide organization that promotes the safety and wellbeing of children. You read about some general playground safety tips at Playground Safety – Safe Kids. The safety tips presented include the following:

*Inspect the playground prior to play to make sure that all equipment is in good working order;

*Inspect the playground and remove any hazards like broken bottles, glass, sharp objects, and other trash on or around the playground;

*Make sure that the enclosures are in good repair and appropriately latched and closed off especially at day care centers or other locations where young childre at play.

A parent is faced with a number of challenges when dealing with the aftermath of a playground injury. The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know - has chapters on Park and Playground Injuries, School Injuries, Day Care Centers Injuries, and other topics. You can get a free copy of this book at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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Summer camps and playground should be locations where children enjoy the joy of free time and fun. It is a time to make the most of summer in an active and usually safe environment. Unfortunately for some children, playgrounds are the sites of serious personal injuries for children. When a child is injured during playground activities, is there always a legal case or claim to pursue? The simple answer to this question is No. It is important to note that the word “always” makes a big difference in the question posed about legal rights and responsibilities.

With any kind of physical activity, a personal injury may occur. Just just because an injury occurs in a particular location like a summer camp or playground, it does not mean that the operator of the summer camp or property owner where the playground is located becomes liable for the resulting personal injuries.

There are four essential elements to pursue a claim or case for personal injuries. These elements include the following:

1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation; and
4. Damages.

It should also be noted that in many States there are additional or different requirements with a public entity is involved. For instance in many states public schools have a different standard of care then a private owner of property. Many such States have laws in place to protect government entities and limit the damages and types of cases that can be pursued against the government entity. With respect the playground cases against a private school, day care center, church, summer camp, or other entity, a parent should contact a Child Injury Lawyer for advice, guidance, and when appropriate legal representation. When evaluating a case involving the personal injuries of a child, there are two essential issues that would be evaluated by the Child Injury Lawyer. One issues involves the maintenance of the playground equipment and other involves the supervision of the children during play. It is vital that the playground equipment is routinely inspected and repaired to prevent or limit injuries to children. Furthermore, it is important that there be adequate supervision for the number of children on the playground and that the supervision be focused on the children rather than in a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Playground Injuries, Theme Park and Attraction Injuries, Swimming Pool and Aquatic Injuries and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In the State of Washington, children are the unfortunate victims of personal injuries that are caused by automobile accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, playgroud injuries, school injuries, and other incidents. When a child is injured, a parent is faced with many challenges in dealing with the medical care, insurance issues, and, yes, legal issues that may arise in any given case. When a child is injured, it is important for a parent to stay calm and get the support of family and friends when getting through this most difficult period for the child and the immediate family. A Child Injury Lawyer can help guide the parent through the maze of issues and challenges that present themselves in most cases.

One issue that should be addressed up front is that of timing. What is the Statute of Limitations to Bring a Case on Behalf of an Injured Child in the State of Washington? Fortunately, the legislators in the State of Washington passed a law that gives plenty of time to bring an action. Under Washington Law, the Statute of Limitations for a child injury does not begin to run until the child reaches the age of 18. This means that a parent, in most instances, has years of time to pursue a legal claim or case on behalf of an injured child. While there is plenty of time to bring forth a case, it is advisable to act promptly when a child is injured. By waiting years upon years to pursue a case, documents otherwise available are lost or destroyed. Witness memories fade and businesses go under and insurance policies lapse. Because most consultations for child injury cases are fre

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By David Wolf, Attorney Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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Most playgrounds throughout virtually every community have monkey bars. While monkey bars are quite common, they are still dangerous especially for young children climbing on or transversing monkey bars in a playground. It takes a certain strength, dexterity, skill, and endurance to climb across monkey bars from one side of the playground to another. Because of this, children frequently fall from monkey bars to the ground of the playground area. Most falls are uneventful. The child merely brushes off the mulch, dirt, or other ground cover and then continues playing with friends on the playground. Unfortunately for some children, a fall from monkey bars can result in serious personal injuries including fractures, sprains, lacerations, and head injuries.

As a Child Injury Lawyer, I am often asked if the parents of an injured child can pursue a case or claim on behalf of the injured child for injuries sustained as a result from a fall from monkey bars. Is a school, day care center, after school program, or camp liable for injuries related to a fall from monkey bars? The answer to this question is “it depends.” Injuries resulting from a fall from monkey bars is often defended on the grounds that the monkey bars are common and there is no way to prevent every single accident or incident that takes place on a playground. Defendants argue that it is impractical and expensive to post an employee, counselor, aide, or other adult directly under the monkey bars for the entirety of the play time period.

There are a number of factors that are considered when evaluating a potential legal claim or case involving a fall from monkey bars. They include the following:

age of the child;
size of the child;
abilities of the child;
manufacturer recommendations as to age for children using playground equipment;
maintenance of playground equipment;
prior incidents of falls from monkey bars resulting injuries;
number of children playing on the playground;
capacity (number of children) on the playground;
number of adult supervisors posted in or around playground; and
other factors.

It can be challenging for a parent dealing with the aftermath of a child injury caused by a playground accident, automobile accident, school injury, or other cause. The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know - has chapters on Playground Injuries, Sports Related Injuries, Automobile Accidents, Medical Bills and Treatment, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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The U.S. Product Safety Commission publishes guidelines and recommendations for the set up, maintenance, and supervision of children in playgrounds in the publication – Public Playground Safety Handbook. Because playgrounds are present in virtually every school, community, day care center, and park, it is important that guidelines and recommendations are considered and followed when reasonable and practical to do so.

As noted in the Handbook, not all playground equipment is suitable for a particular age group or for children using or having access to the playground site. In order to determine if a playground is appropriate for a certain age group. The following guidelines are set forth in the Handbook:

Toddlers (Children in this group range in age from 6 months old to 23 months old.)
Playground equipment should include ramps, stairways, and swings with bucket seats. If ladders are in place, ladders should be single file / person ladders. Climbing equipment should be under 32 inches high.

Pre-School (Children in this group range in age from 2 years old to 5 years old.)
If ladders are in place, ladders should be single file ladders. Climbing equipment should be less than or equal to 60 inches in height for children ages 4 years old and 5 years old.

Grade School (Children in this group range in age from 5 years old to 12 years old.)
See Public Playground Safety Handbook for what equipment would be appropriate for this age group.

While it is important to have children playing in an age appropriate playground, it is also important for there to be adequate and appropriate supervision. Children often times will misuse equipment or engage in dangerous stunts. Because of the curiosity of children as well as the developing motor skills, supervision should be present at all times. Supervision of children on playgrounds should include the following:

Check the surface of the playground;

Inspect the playground for broken or damaged equipment;

Check the playground for unsafe modifications including but limited to ropes that are added to the equipment but are not part of the original design and are not provided by the manufacturer;

Removing any broken glass or other items that may cause harm to the children;

Require that the children wear appropriate foot wear; and

Keeping children in the playground area so that they do not wander away or subject to abduction by strangers.

The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know - has chapters on Playground Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, and other topics.

The book was written by David Wolf, an attorney who has dedicated his entire legal career to the protection and enforcement of the rights of children. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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At most schools and day care centers, there is a playground available for use by the children enrolled in the program. Most of these playgrounds have slides. For most children on most days, the playground slide is a location of fun and enjoyment for the children. While the slides can and should be fun, many children suffer personal injuries as a result of playground slide accidents every year. There are a number of factors to be considered when providing supervision of children using a playground slide. These factors include the following:

the type and material of the slide (metal versus plastic);

the height of the slide;

the height and type of ladder attached to the slide:

the length of the slide;

other playground equipment in the area the age;

age of the children playing on the playground;

age of the children playing on the slide;

number of supervisors on or near the playground area;

prior incidents of injuries at the playground; and

other factors.

For smaller and younger children, supervision is a must to ensure that the children are able to safely climb the steps and then safely go down the slide. Day care center and school staff members should make sure that the landing or the end of the slide is clear of any other children. Playground rules and safety measures should be explained to the children and should be followed iand enforced by day care center in school staff and administrators.

A child should not go down the slide standing, on the knees, or backwards. Furthermore they should be no jumping off the slide. Some may think that it is safer for an adult to ride tandem down the slide with the child on the adult’s lap. On many slides this can be actually more dangerous. In some instances the rubber shoe of the child gets caught on the plastic slide and the weight or force of the adult behind the child causes a serious lower limb injury to the child.

If a child is been injured on a playground slide or other playground equipment, it is important that the parent or school obtain timely medical treatment. Thereafter, a parent or guardian should consult with a Child Injury Lawyer to determine the respective rights of the child in the responsibilities of the day care center or school. The book – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know - has chapters on Playground Injuries, School Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, and other topcis. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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By Joni J. Franklin, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In Kansas and other States, parents rely on day care centers to provide care and supervision of their children during the work day. In most instances, the children are cared for in a safe, clean, and loving environment. At the end of the work day, the parents pick up their children from the day care center and enjoy the rest of the evening with family. Unfortunately, on some days for some children, the day is not so enjoyable. In fact, some children even suffer serious personal injuries while under the care and supervision of a Kansas day care center. In some instances, tragedy strikes and a child dies while enrolled in a day care center. What starts out as an ordinary day for the parents, day care center, and child ends in tragedy.

In Topeka, Kansas, it was reported that a 3 year old boy died while being cared for in a residential day care program. The Shawnee County Sheriff’s office responded to the scene of the incident and will be conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the incident. As part of the investigation, it is expected that the sheriff’s office will consider or evaluate the supervision in place at the time of the incident and the preventability of the incident. It was reported that the 3 year old boy died when he somehow became tangled in the playground swing set.

The death of this child is certainly a tragedy for the family, friends, and community. The loss of a child is an event will have a ripple effect for years to come.

You can read more about this story at 3 Year Old Boy Dies on Playground at Residential Day Care Center.

When a child suffers an injury at a day care center, there are often many questions and issues that arise. It is often helpful to get advice in these situations from a Child Injury Lawyer. The book – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know - has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, Playground Injuries, School Injuries, Theme Park and Amusement Park Injuries, and other topics, You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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Should a caretaker, babysitter, parent, or childcare provider slide down the playground slide with a child? And playgrounds in every community there’re are typically slides many caregivers, babysitters daycare providers, and other adults believe that the safest thing to do is to put the child on one’s lab and slide down with the child. There are some risk and dangers when an adult goes down a slide with a child on his or her lap. In particular, the rubber soul of the child’s shoe gets caught or stuck on the way down the slide. As a result thereof, the child may suffer a leg injury and even a leg fracture.

Child safety advocates, pediatricians, and emergency room physicians recommend an adult stand beside the slide as the child goes down the slide to prevent these types of injuries from taking place. When a child is using a playground whether in a school, day care center, home or other location, it is important that there is consistent and timely adult supervision to watch over the child and to make sure the child is using using the playground in a safe manner. When a child is under the care of a day care center, school, after school program, or other business or government entity, as well as the supervision of a friend, neighbor, or family member, it is important that the child is provided with adequate and appropriate supervision. It is also important at the playground equipment is maintained in a safe manner and that hazards on or near the playground are removed.

When a child is injured as a result of the negligence of another person or a business or school, it is important for the parent to seek legal advice from a child injury lawyer. A parent can obtain a free consultation from a Child Injury Lawyer. The book titled is important to seek legal advice from a child injury lawyer. The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Playground Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Damages / Compensation, and other topics. Get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

First Coast News – Jacksonville, Florida – did a story on Playground Safety. The video news story shows the dangers of playground slides and the types of injuries commonly sustained when a child rides on the lap of an adult down a playground slide. See Playground Risks and Dangers – Leg Injuries and Fractures.

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By Steven Smith, Attorney, and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In Long Island, New York, three bounce houses went airborne after some strong winds lifted up the bounce houses at a soccer tournament. The incident took place at the Town of Oceanside (Long Island) New York at the United Soccer Club. Bounce houses can be susceptible to strong winds and thereby create a zone of danger when the bounce houses are not properly secured in place. When operating or renting a bounce house, it is important to read the weather forecast. Furthermore, it is also important to monitor the weather forecast and weather reports during the time that the bounce house is in place. While bounce houses are typically fun for children, safety is a priority at all times. It was reported that 13 people were injured as a result of this bounce house incident. See 13 Injured WHen Bounce Houses Go Airborne in New York.

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – has chapters on Playground Injuries, Medical Bills / Medical Treatment, Damages / Compensation and other topics. You can receive a free copy of this book at Free Child Injury Book for Parents – Answers to Many Common Questions When a Child Is Injured. The book is also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Apple iBookstore.