What Parents Need to Know About Playground Brain Injuries

A new study published in the medical journal Pediatrics has found that the number of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) occurring on playgrounds is on the rise.

How Common Are Playground Brain Injuries?

The study reviewed data on more than 21,000 children treated in emergency departments (ED) for playground-related injuries. Researchers noted an overall playground injury visit rate of 53.5 per 100,000 for children aged 5 to 9.

Further, while researchers noted declines in the number of neck injuries and deaths connected to playgrounds, the report noted that TBIs increased significantly between 2005 and 2013 with an average of 16,000 TBI-related ED visits each year.

The study also determined that playground-related TBIs were most common in May, followed by September and April, and were much more likely to occur on weekdays.

The study seems to support findings by the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) which estimated a 57-percent increase in traumatic brain injuries from 2001 to 2009, with the majority of TBIs occur on playgrounds.

Where Are Playground Injuries Most Likely to Occur?

According to the study, 33.5 percent of playground-related injuries occurred at a sports or recreation center and 32.5 percent occurred at school.

As for equipment, monkey bars and playground gyms were associated with 28.3 percent of all injuries and were associated with 28.1 percent of injuries.

Equipment dangers do tend to vary by age. For example, swings and slides were the most common causes of injury in children ages 0 to 4 while monkey bars and playground gyms were associated with injuries in children ages 5 to 9.

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