Monkey bars and swings pose highest risk

Posted at 2:02 PM, May 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-02 16:55:42-04

The number of traumatic brain injuries that occurred at playgrounds has doubled, despite changes to make the environment safer for children.

A new study, published online by the American Academy of Pediatrics, says the number of head injuries at playgrounds doubled from 2005 to 2013, though the rate has declined in recent years.

On average, more than 21,100 children under the age of 14 were treated for traumatic brain injuries each year, from 2001-2013. A total of around 215,000 children were treated for playground injuries annually.

The report published online Monday is based on data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data only counted cases that were not deadly.

Two-thirds of the injuries happened at schools or facilities where kids play recreational sports.

Accidents were most likely to happen on weekdays or during the months of April, May and September. The monkey bars and the swings posed the highest risk.

When it came to hospital visits, 58 percent of kids who went to emergency rooms were boys. More than half of them were between the ages of five and nine years old.

Industry standards for playground equipment have improved in the last few years, for example, requiring softer surfaces. But, the number of injuries is so high, critics say more safety measures may be necessary.