Child Playground Accidents & Injuries
As child accident injury solicitors we understand like any parent play is essential to the development of children. But just as important is that a child’s play must be in a safe environment. Accidents are caused they just do not happen. Some accidents will be caused will no real element of blame. However some child accidents which result in an injury to a child are caused by the careless acts or omissions of another. The law lays down a “duty of care” upon everyone especially in certain relationships such as “doctor patient”, “teacher pupil”, “solicitor client.” Many playground accidents are caused by faulty equipment that has not been maintained or the wrong installation of equipment in the first place. Furthermore many playground accidents causing injury to a child are often by a lack of supervision of children in the playground. Teachers, nursery staff or other persons in charge are often under-staffed, poorly trained or simply lack general risk awareness. Children are left to their own devices which often cause injury especially if there are younger children playing with older children.
The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) who provide information to people working with children and families, and students undertaking projects. The CAPT also publishes a range of resources for parents, carers and older children, containing comprehensive safety advice of which see their web site
In the UK in 2002:
- 172,200 children age 15 and under went to a hospital after having an accident in a playground
- 33,500 children were injured in public playgrounds
- 139,200 children were injured in school or nursery playgrounds
- In playgrounds climbing frames are most commonly involved in accidental injury, followed by swings and then slides. Other equipment less commonly involved in injury includes rope swings, seesaws and roundabouts.
- 12,400 children were injured at home when using play equipment.
- Falls account for at least 75 per cent of all playground accidents. Children can slipand lose their grip or their balance when playing. Often they are hurt not only byfalling from play equipment, but also by hitting the equipment as they fall.
- Collisions with other children and impact with stationery or moving equipment arecommon causes of playground injury.
Less common types of playground accidents include cuts and crush injuries resulting from contact with protrusions, pinch pointsand sharp edges, strangulation when children’s clothing, especially scarves, drawstrings or cords, catches on equipment entrapment injuries when the head or shoulders become stuck. The design of a play area and its location have an impact on child safety together with adequate supervision
Typical Playgrounds Accidents & Injuries
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents have estimated that there are approximately 40,000 injuries to children on playgrounds each year which result in a hospital visit. The main causes are said to be-
- lack of supervision
- misuse’ of equipment
- unsuitable clothes
- weather conditions
Playground equipment accidents and injuries caused to children are broken down as follows:
- Swings 40%
- Climbers 23%
- Slides 21%
- Roundabouts 5%
- See-Saws 4%
- Fireman’s Poles 1%
- Others 6%
There are various laws that are in place help prevent accidents to children in playground in accordance with the Occupier’s Liability Act and various Regulations. There are also Playground Equipment and Safety Standards see web DiyPlay Web Site for further information and examples.
The main standards for children playground and play equipment came into European Law on the 1st January 1999 under the general Standard BS EN1176 covering equipment, and EN1177 covering surfacing. It is important to note that the Regulations are not mandatory or retrospective but considered best practice. Certainly as Solicitors acting for injured children at a playground if the person or organisation responsible for the playground and equipment did not confirm with the BS Standard this would certainly help the injured child’s solicitors to make a claim for compensation.The onus of proof could well be shifted and the owners of the playground would have to show that it was reasonable for them not to comply to the BS Standard and the full reasons why they did not comply.
Maintenance and Inspection of Playgrounds
It is common sense that a continuous schedule of maintenance and inspection of all playground equipment is undertaken. Just as important from a legal liability point of view is for the owners of the playground to keep all the inspection logs and repairs to prove that they have done everything reasonably possible to ensure that standards are maintained. There is no point when creating and setting up a playground with all the latest equipment and safety standards then to let it deteriorate over a period of time. Should this happen and a child is injured as a result of faulty equipment etc the owners of the playground cannot rely upon a defence that it did everything possible when it opened the playground but had done nothing before the accident.
Settlement of Child Injury Compensation
Once the case is settled and the case in won, the compensation will be payable until the child reaches the age of 18 years which is the age when the law determines that a child can act for himself/herself without the need for a parent or guardian. Up until the time the child who has been injured on the trampoline reaches 18 years of age the child must always act through a parent or guardian. If the child needs money for education, welfare or benefit before reaching 18 years, the child’s accident injury solicitors will request from the court a payment out of the compensation fund on account.
The compensation payment to the child following an accident claim will be invested on the child’s behalf at the Court Funds Office special court bank account which gains interest and is invested on behalf of the child until the child reaches the age of 18 years of age.
It is important once the case has been finalised that the parents and the child keep a note of the court case number and the address of the court. If the family move address they should also remember to let the court know of the new address so that the court will be able to keep track of the family and remind the child when he or she reaches the age of 18 years that the compensation plus interest will be paid so that the final compensation claim for the injured child victim will finally come to an end.
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Child accident and injury solicitors