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ER Visits For Traumatic Brain Injuries From Playground Accidents On Increase, Despite Industry Improvements

The number of children treated in emergency rooms for traumatic brain injuries sustained at a playground increased significantly between 2005 and 2013, according to a study to be published in the journal Pediatrics. (1)

Playground slides

The sutdy, by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that:

  • On average, more than 21,100 children age 14 and younger were treated for traumatic brain injuries annually over a 12-year period.
  • About two-thirds of the injuries occurred at schools and recreational sports facilities, with the majority of those injured treated and released. 
  • Males accounted for 58 percent of the hospital visits, and more than half of the children treated were between ages 5 and 9.
  • There were on average 214,883 playground injuries annually, despite industry standard improvements, such as playground surfacing that reduces the risk of injury and deaths from falls. 
  • Most injuries occurred on weekdays in April, May and September. 
  • Monkey bars, playground gyms and swings were the most frequently reported equipment associated with a traumatic brain injury. 
The researchers suggested that the rise in emergency room visits could have been the result of increased participation in playground activities or a heightened awareness of traumatic brain injuries and concussions.  They recommended that strategies be developed to strengthen adult supervision, reduce child risk behavior, maintain equipment, and improve playground surfaces and environments.

1. Cheng TA, Bell JM, Haileyesus T, Gilchrist J, Sugerman DE, Coronado VG. Nonfatal Playground-Related Traumatic Brain Injuries Among Children, 2001-2013. Pediatrics 2015;137:e 20152721 (doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-2721).

Posted May 2, 2016 

 

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