Few things are, or at least should be, as important to our society as our children’s safety. I’m not saying that children should be coddled at all times or that they shouldn’t be allowed to do anything fun, but a certain degree of care should be aimed at the future contributors to our nation’s development.
The concerns come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as a new study that looked over data from 2001 to 2013 determined that monkey bars cause a large number of concussions. While most were actually pretty mild, all concussions have the risk of causing serious brain damage.
For the study, the CDC looked at non-fatal accidents involving playground equipment from 2001 to 2013. The data was of children aged fourteen and younger, and it turns out that out of 215,000 kids, around ten percent suffered traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, in nation-wide parks.
While in 2005 the data shows that 23 out of 100,000 kids suffered from traumatic brain injuries, 2013 shows that the rate climbed to 48 out of 100,000. In fact, around 30,000 children were treated for brain injuries that year. There are two possible explanations for this – either more parents are taking their kids to the ER after suffering such an injury, or more children are using monkey bars and swings.
Just three percent of the children were hospitalized or sent elsewhere for treatment, while the remaining were sent home straight from the ER, after treatment. Most injuries were suffered by boys aged five to nine. Symptoms of concussions include confusion, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and headaches.
Usually resulting from a blow to the head that jostles the brain and temporarily disrupts some brain function, concussions are in fact a type of traumatic brain injury. Symptoms from these blows to the head can last for days or even weeks, but most victims recover completely. Brain damage has been linked to repeated blows to the head.
The two pieces of playground equipment most tied to these head injuries were the monkey bars and the swing sets. Most of these injuries resulted from falls, so one of the main tips offered by experts is for the playgrounds to change the type of ground they use from concrete to sand or wooden chips – something softer.
While checking the state of the playground equipment and letting your children use only those pieces of equipment recommended for their age is important, the most vital part is to offer them constant adult supervision so as to minimize the chances of any moderate to severe accidents that could happen on a playground.
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