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Even Playgrounds May Be Dangerous For Children

New York City kids are lucky! There are nearly 1,000 playgrounds in the city, including 21 in Central Park alone. More are being built and updated as a result of the efforts of PlaNYC.

Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC project aims to ensure that all New Yorkers live within a 10–minute walk of a park or playground by 2030. To meet this goal, construction has begun on four of eight destination parks, and hundreds of schoolyards have been opened to the public through the Schoolyards to Playgrounds program.

The Parks Department, the Department of Education and the nonprofit Trust for Public Land are working together to make capital improvements at many of schoolyards, including play equipment, painted sports surfaces, trees and benches.

Children and adults benefit physically and emotionally from getting exercise and using these spaces. But it is important to be aware of possible dangers for kids while encouraging them to enjoy these new and updated playgrounds.

This isn’t just a precautionary tale. On average in New York State, more than 16 children age 14 or younger are treated at hospitals for injuries sustained from falling off playground equipment; an average of one child is injured severely enough to require hospitalization, according to the Department of Health.

The department recommends adult supervision as one of the best ways to prevent injuries. Adults should make sure that children are properly using playground equipment and that the equipment is age-appropriate. For example, children under age 2 should not climb higher than 32 inches (about three feet), and children ages 2 to 5 should not climb higher than 60 inches (about five feet). Children also should not use slides until they can do so on their own; sitting on the lap of an adult puts the child at risk for a broken leg.

Health officials also recommend being aware of spaces where a child’s head or body could get stuck. A child’s head can be trapped in openings between three and a half and nine inches wide.

An adult also should remove all drawstrings from a child’s clothes and make sure the child is not wearing any necklaces or scarves while playing; these items could get caught on equipment and strangle a child. The department does not recommend that children wear helmets when climbing trees or playground equipment, because a helmet may get stuck on a tree or piece of equipment and strangle a child.

If you or your child has been hurt in a playground or park due to dangerous conditions or broken equipment, contact the experienced New York City personal injury law firm of David Resnick & Associates, P.C. We will help you determine whether you are entitled to compensation for your injuries or your child’s injuries and other losses.

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