Playgrounds and brain injuries in children

Traumatic brain injuries are often caused by car accidents or slip-and-falls. One common cause of TBIs in children is accidents on playgrounds. The number of children who suffer concussions at playgrounds has increased substantially over the past few years according to one recent study. The study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, analyzed data from 2001 to 2013 regarding playground injuries in kids 14 and under who were treated in the emergency room. The data shows that 10 percent of the 215,000 kids treated in the ER yearly had traumatic brain injuries. Only nonfatal injuries, including concussions, were counted. In 2005, about 23 out of 100,000 kids suffered TBIs. In 2013, the rate increased significantly to 48 out of 100,000. Researchers cited two major possible reasons for the increase. One is that parents are more knowledgeable about TBIs in general and are aware of the potential consequences of an untreated concussion, thereby driving them to take their children to the hospital when injured. Another possible reason is that a higher number of children are playing on playground equipment. A vast majority of the children with concussions were sent home after emergency room treatment. Boys between the ages of 5 and 9 were more likely to suffer head injuries. About 3 percent of those with concussions had to undergo additional treatment or were hospitalized. Traumatic brain injuries can have long-lasting consequences and can cause permanent disability. Some of the effects of a TBI are not seen until much later in life. That’s why it is so important to seek treatment immediately if you or someone you love is exhibiting any signs of brain injury. Signs of a concussion after impact to the head can include dizziness, headaches, confusion and nausea.

Not all injuries are legally actionable. However, when a person is injured due to the negligence of another party, the injured can seek compensation for their damages through a personal injury lawsuit. The legal theory of premises liability can hold landowners liable if someone is injured due to the owner negligently failing to address a hazardous condition on their property. This could be an important legal concept in any case involving dangerous playground equipment. Similarly, product liability can be an important legal concept in cases involving defectively designed playground equipment. A lawyer can help the injured and their families to understand all their legal options.

Source: The Washington Post, “Monkey bars, swings blamed for rise in playground concussions,” Lindsey Tanner, May 2, 2016