CHICAGO (Salvi Law) – A day at the park on a beautiful, sunny day may not be all fun and games, a new study suggests.
Playgrounds are important places for children to have fun, explore, exercise, and grow. Children learn through play and need opportunities to take risks, test their limits, and learn new skills through free play. But playgrounds can also put children at risk for concussion. According to a new report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, playground-related brain injuries have risen significantly in the United States over the last decade.
Despite improvements in playground safety and design, between 2001 and 2013, emergency rooms treated an average of 21,000 playground-related traumatic brain injuries annually among children 14 and younger, CBS news reports.
READ MORE | Playground-related brain injuries on the rise
Monkey bars, playground gyms, and swings cited most often in connection with head injuries. About two-thirds of the injuries occurred at schools and recreational sports facilities.
According to the report, emergency rooms treated more than 29,000 children for concussions and other serious head injuries in 2013, up from 18,000 in 2001. The numbers started rising notably in 2009.
Health officials say the rise in those injuries can be attributable to increased playground time for kids and increased awareness among parents and doctors about the dangers of head injuries. Now, more than ever, parents are bringing their children into the ER for treatment, due to increased concussion awareness.
Experts say the study is aimed at increasing adult supervision at the playground, and making parents recognize that some pieces of equipment are more hazardous than others. Researchers suggest taking the following steps to keep children safe:
The CDC notes that more research is needed to better understand what specific activities are putting children at risk of injury, and what changes in playground equipment and surfaces might help prevent injuries.