Keeping Playgrounds Safe For Children - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

Keeping Playgrounds Safe For Children


Playgrounds offer an opportunity for children to get some exercise outdoors, but allowing your children to play on some of them could be increasing the risk of injury. News reports point to playgrounds in Ontario and throughout Canada as causing injuries to more than 28,000 children each year. The lack of regulations requiring upgrading of older equipment is one factor that could be causing so many children to be hurt on them, but there are other reasons as well.

Standards for playground safety

It might come as a surprise to learn Canada does not have a national standard for playground equipment. Safety standards created by the Canadian Standards Association have been used in the construction and maintenance of some playgrounds by their owners, but the standards are voluntary.

Forcing playground owners to perform regularly scheduled inspections of equipment and to make necessary repairs to correct unsafe conditions is difficult without legislation on a national or provincial level. The lack of such legislation leaves parents and others to seek out other methods of holding owners liable for playground injuries.

Occupiers’ Liability Act in Ontario

Property owners under the Ontario Occupiers’ Liability Act are liable for injuries suffered by children using playgrounds on their property. The law makes owners and others in physical possession or control of premises responsible when someone is injured because of a hazardous condition associated with the land or structures, such as playgrounds, built on it.

A child injured on playground equipment that has been improperly installed or maintained could sue the property owner for damages. If the property is rented or leased, the owner and the party leasing the property could both be held liable under the wording of the law.

Making playgrounds safe

Playground safety starts with parental supervision. Children should not be allowed on the equipment without a responsible adult present to make certain it is used in the proper way. Other steps that can be taken to promote playground safety include:

  • Playgrounds should be built on soft surfaces: Wood chips, sand and manufactured rubberized surfaces absorb some of the impact of falls. The soft surfaces should extend at least six feet beyond the equipment.
  • Site inspections: The site should be inspected daily for glass and other objects on the ground that could cause injury.
  • Steps: Playground steps should have no-slip surfaces and made of materials that will not cause lacerations if a child trips and falls.
  • Inspect materials for defects: Depending upon the material used in the construction of the playground equipment, it should be inspected periodically to ensure it is free of splinters and sharp edges. Bolts used in its construction should be checked to ensure they are tight and that no bolts protrude to cause injuries.
  • Cushioning: Swings and other pieces of equipment that could strike a child when swung should be cushioned to prevent serious head injuries.
  • Clothing: Children should not be allowed to use playground equipment while wearing loose clothing or hooded garments that could get caught and pose a strangulation hazard.
  • Avoid hot surfaces: Metal and plastics used in the construction of playground equipment can become extremely hot when exposed to the sun. Check to make sure slides and swings are not too hot for children to be on.

Personal injury lawyers when playground injuries happen

When playground injuries happen due to the negligence or carelessness of the owners in the installation or maintenance of the equipment, the victim could be entitled to compensation. The compassionate personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond are ready to help. They have years of experiencehandling all types of claims. Don’t delay, contact our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now about your claim. Consultations are free, and we have offices located throughout Ontario.

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