Healthy Tip Tuesday – Physical Injury Prevention

(Dennison, Ohio) – Not only does Trinity Hospital Twin City act as a resource for injury prevention, but the local hospital offers a quality physical therapy facility to assist you when injuries still happen.

Playground Safety

Each year in the United States, emergency departments (EDs) treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries.More than 20,000 of these children are treated for a traumatic brain injury (TBI), including concussion.2 Overall, more research is needed to better understand what specific activities are putting kids at risk of injury and what changes in playground equipment and surfaces might help prevent injuries.

Occurrence and Consequences of Playground-Related Injuries

All Emergency Department-Treated, Playground-Related Injuries
  • About 56% of playground-related injuries that are treated in EDs are fractures and contusions/abrasions.1
  • About 75% of injuries related to playground equipment occur on public playgrounds. Most occur at a place of recreation or school.1
Playground-Related Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • The overall rate of ED visits for playground-related TBI has significantly increased in recent years (2005-2013).1
  • About two-thirds of playground-related TBIs occurred at school and places or recreation or sports and often involved monkey bars, climbing equipment, or swings.2
  • Most ED visits for playground-related TBIs occur during weekdays, Monday through Friday.2
  • Playground-related TBI ED visits occurred frequently during the months of April, May, and September.2
Deaths

Between 2001 and 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Commission investigated 40 deaths associated with playground equipment. The average age of children who died was six years old. Of these, 27 (68%) died from strangulation and six (15%) died from falls to the playground surface.1 Most strangulation involved the combination of slides or swings and jump ropes, other ropes, dog leashes or clothes drawstrings.

 

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Playground-Related TBIs

  • Boys more often sustain playground-related TBIs compared to girls.
  • Most children who are treated for playground-related TBIs are 5 to 9 years of age.
  • Playground-related TBIs varied by age group and equipment type:
  • 0-4 year olds are often injured on swings and slides.
  • 5-9 year olds are often injured on swings, monkey bars, and climbing equipment.2
  • 10-14 year olds are often injured on swings, monkey bars, and climbing equipment.2
  • 5 to 14 year olds sustain TBIs more frequently at school.

Sports Safety

Taking part in sports and recreation activities is an important part of a healthy, physically active lifestyle for kids. But injuries can, and do, occur. More than 2.6 million children 0-19 years old are treated in the emergency department each year for sports and recreation-related injuries.

Thankfully, there are steps that parents can take to help make sure kids stay safe on the field, the court, or wherever they play or participate in sports and recreation activities.

Key Prevention Tips

Gear up. When children are active in sports and recreation, make sure they use the right protective gear for their activity, such as helmets, wrist guards, knee or elbow pads.

Use the right stuff. Be sure that sports protective equipment is in good condition, fits appropriately and is worn correctly all the time—for example, avoid missing or broken buckles or compressed or worn padding. Poorly fitting equipment may be uncomfortable and may not offer the best protection.

Get an action plan in place. Be sure your child’s sports program or school has an action plan that includes information on how to teach athletes ways to lower their chances of getting a concussion and other injuries. Get more concussion safety tips.

Pay attention to temperature. Allow time for child athletes to gradually adjust to hot or humid environments to prevent heat-related injuries or illness. Parents and coaches should pay close attention to make sure that players are hydrated and appropriately dressed.

Be a good model. Communicate positive safety messages and serve as a model of safe behavior, including wearing a helmet and following the rules.

Fall Prevention

We all want to keep our children safe and secure and help them live to their full potential. Knowing how to prevent leading causes of child injury, like falls, is a step toward this goal.

Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for all children ages 0 to 19. Every day, approximately 8,000 children are treated in U.S. emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. This adds up to almost 2.8 million children each year.

Thankfully, many falls can be prevented, and parents and caregivers can play a key role in protecting children.

Key Prevention Tips

Play safely.
Falls on the playground are a common cause of injury. Check to make sure that the surfaces under playground equipment are safe, soft, and consist of appropriate materials (such as wood chips or sand, not dirt or grass). The surface materials should be an appropriate depth and well-maintained.

Make your home safer.
Use home safety devices, such as guards on windows that are above ground level, stair gates, and guard rails. These devices can help keep a busy, active child from taking a dangerous tumble.

Keep sports safe.
Make sure your child wears protective gear during sports and recreation. For example, when in-line skating, use wrist guards, knee and elbow pads, and a helmet.

Supervision is key.
Supervise young children at all times around fall hazards, such as stairs and playground equipment, whether you’re at home or out to play.

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