As much fun as they might be, these are the places where children most often suffer traumatic brain injuries.
In fact, despite efforts to make playgrounds safer with protective surfacing and the like, the number of children treated for such injuries soared from 23 per 100,000 in 2005 to 48 per 100,000 in 2013, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Helmets, we know, are very good at preventing traumatic brain injuries. A playground, however, just isn’t a cool place to wear helmets.
More than one-third of these injuries occur at schools. And the risk of injuries through sports and outdoor activities is higher this time of year as temperatures warm up.
Of course, we all know that close adult supervision is important to helping keep injuries in check. But what else can you do? How can you keep the children enrolled in your school even safer?
Here’s a checklist that you can use to make sure everyone’s doing what they should be doing:
Remind your teachers that they must be hyper-alert when the kids are at play. Outside playtime is a great change of scenery for the teachers and the children. But it should not be thought of as rest time for teachers.
Don’t set up seating for teachers in playgrounds. Doing so tends to diminish the importance of the need for supervision.
Keep play equipment for children ages 2 to 5 years separate from equipment for children 5 to 12 years old. Moreover, just do all you can to keep toddlers out of areas where older children are playing. The younger kids just can’t keep up and tend to get knocked down.
Do a quick clothing check before setting the children free to hit the playground. Things to look for: necklaces, drawstrings, earrings, loose belts and un-tied shoes.
Make sure there are no areas in the playground where children can easily duck out of teachers’ sight.
Do a quick check for hazards in the playground area right before the children are allowed to enter. Regularly inspect playground equipment for broken or missing parts, protruding bolts or fixtures, rust, splinters and cracks and holes.
Install guardrails on equipment platforms. Make sure all openings in guardrails, between ladder rungs and similar openings are less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches. Openings between those ranges can allow a child’s head to become trapped in the space.
Joaquin Escobar, an Insurance Advisor at CCIG, handles the risk management and insurance needs of commercial childcare and school accounts. Reach him at 720-212-2054 or JoaquinE@thinkccig.com.
CCIG is a Denver-area insurance brokerage with the full-service capabilities of a national brokerage. We do more than make sure you have the right policy. We also help you manage your long-term cost of risk with our risk and claims management expertise and a commitment to service excellence.