Backyard Danger - Play Equipment May Pose Safety Concerns

    Posted by Soules Insurance on Wed, May 24, 2017


    Now that summertime is almost upon us, playground season is in full swing. Are the kids in the backyard and at the local playground safe?  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has found that far too often, fun and games on the backyard play set or at the community playground can lead to injuries — and even death.

    In order to encourage a fun and safe summer, the following is an overview of insurance coverage recommendations, data about the types of injuries sustained, and a helpful list of some playground safety guidelines.

    Homeowner liability

    If your insurance clients have a backyard swing set or other play equipment, the Insurance Information Institute recommends homeowner policyholders consider increasing liability coverage through an umbrella policy in case someone is injured while playing on an insured's property. Standard homeowners' policies usually provide $100,000 to $300,000 worth of liability coverage. Most insurance companies offer a personal catastrophe liability (PCL) policy that adds an extra $1 to $5 million to homeowners' liability limits for about $200 more per year. 

    It’s not unusual to hear of $1-million, $2-million, and even $10-million liability judgments against individuals. If someone is injured in a client's backyard, they could be hit with such a judgment. Accidents and injuries aren't predictable, and once a client is the target of a liability lawsuit, it's too late to get coverage. 

    Where injuries happen most

    Playground injuries take place in various locations. The top four places for play equipment injuries are:

    1. Home (66 percent).
    2. Restaurant (26 percent).
    3. Park (3 percent).
    4. School (2 percent).

    The play equipment responsible

    Monkey bars and swings account for the majority of the total play equipment injuries resulting in emergency department-treated injuries, although slides account for one-fifth of the injuries.

    Here's the top 5 breakdown of playground equipment linked to the most injuries, according the the CPS:

    1. Monkey bars or playground gyms (34 percent).

    2. Swings or swing sets (25 percent).

    3. Slides or sliding boards (21 percent).

    4. Other playground equipment (9 percent).

    5. Not specified (9 percent).

    Top injuries reported

    The two most common reported emergency department diagnoses from playground accidents are fractures and contusions/abrasions, which together account for 51 percent of the incidents. Fractures alone account for more than one-third of the emergency department-treated injuries. Here's the top 5 breakdown of reported injuries:

    1. Fractures (34 percent).

    2. Contusions and abrasions (17 percent).

    3. Lacerations (15 percent).

    4. Strains and sprains (13 percent).

    5. Internal organ injuries (9 percent).

    Playground safety tips

    • Always supervise kids and make sure kids use playground equipment appropriate for their age.
    • Never attach ropes, jump ropes, pet leashes or strings to playground equipment; children can strangle on these.
    • Make sure children's clothing does not have any drawstrings as they can catch on slides and other equipment.
    • Make sure surfaces around playgrounds have 9-12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel, or mats made of safety-tested rubber.
    • Check that protective surfacing extends at least 6 feet in all directions from play equipment. For swings, be sure surfacing extends, in back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar. Look out for tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.
    • Don't let kids play on slides/surfaces that are burning hot. The weather does not have be 100 degrees in order for equipment to heat up and cause burns. If it feels hot to your hand, it may be too hot for a child's bare skin!

    Soules Insurance Agency

    For more information on personal or commercial insurance, contact us today!

    We welcome your questions and look forward to providing you with answers.

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    Tags: Playground Dangers, Homeowner Liability, Play Equipment Injuries, Safety Concerns