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ER doctors to parents: Help prevent playground-related injuries

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Washington – As summer heats up and children spend more time outdoors, the American College of Emergency Physicians is reminding parents and caregivers to keep safety in mind when supervising kids at the playground.

ACEP cites Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data showing that more than 200,000 children visit emergency rooms annually for playground-related injuries, including fractures and contusions. In addition, ER physicians treat more than 20,000 children for traumatic brain injuries sustained on a playground.

ACEP offers several safety tips:

  • Closely supervise young children while also monitoring older kids.
  • Survey playgrounds for potential hazards, including broken or inadequate equipment, debris, or broken bottles.
  • Let your child play only on age-appropriate equipment.
  • Teach children playground safety rules: No running, pushing or shoving; and don’t walk in the path of a moving swing or climb up slides instead of using the ladder.
  • Avoid overcrowded playgrounds.
  • Make sure clothing, such as hoods, doesn’t interfere with children’s peripheral vision.

“Many playground injuries can be avoided if parents are mindful about the risks and teach children to obey safety rules,” ACEP President Rebecca Parker, MD, said in a May 15 press release. “We encourage children to get outside and play to promote a healthier lifestyle, but we want to make sure our children are as safe as possible.”

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