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The Hidden Dangers of Childrens' Playgrounds

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Parents should be aware of the many hazards that present themselves on our childrens’ playgrounds. Each year, more than 200,000 kids are treated in hospital ERs for playground-related injuries. While some of the hazards pose an immediate risk, others can have a cummulative long term effect.

One area of concern should be the equipment and aparatus made available to the children. Recently, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled the “Max Play” Single Post and “Kid Builders Arch” Swing Sets which were sold from December 1997 to June of 2004. The product was manufactured by PlayPower LT Farmington Inc..The problem arises in the connection between the swing set’s horizontal top beam and the vertical end support post which can break, posing a risk of injury if the user falls to the ground or is hit by the beam.

Parents should also be concerned about play on treated wood jungle gym equipment.

Chromated copper arsenate or CCA, is a chemical preservative that protects wood from rotting due to insects and microbial agents. CCA contains arsenic, chromium and copper. CCA has been used to pressure treat lumber used for decks, playgrounds (playsets) and other outdoor uses since the 1930’s. Since the 1970’s, the majority of the wood used in residential settings was CCA-treated wood. exposures to arsenic in the wood might increase a person’s probability (or risk) of developing lung or bladder cancer over their lifetime. Children can be exposed to the arsenic in CCA-treated wood by playing on playgrounds made from this wood.

Finally, Playground Surfaces should be taken into consideration before allowing a child to play freely at an unfamiliar playground.

A proper playground surface is one of the most important factors in reducing injuries – and the severity of injuries – that occur when kids fall from equipment. The surface under the playground equipment should be soft enough and thick enough to soften the impact of a child’s fall.

For more information on playground safety check out the Nation Program for Playground Safety.