Report highlights playground dangers, injuries

Most playground fatalities caused by hanging, asphyxiation

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SAN ANTONIO – As the playground season gets into full swing, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a report highlighting injuries, fatalities and playground equipment safety issues.

The report found that of the 34 fatalities investigated by the CPSC between 2009 and 2014, 19 incidents were the result of hanging or asphyxiation.

The commission urge parents and caretakers to keep jump ropes, pet leashes, string and jacket drawstrings away from playground equipment.

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Falls and fractures were the most common incidents and injuries.

During the same five-year time frame, nearly 1.5 million injuries associated with playground equipment were treated in U.S. emergency rooms. Monkey bars and swings accounted for the majority.

"The most common is falling off monkey bars," said Dr. Ian Mitchell, director of the trauma program at The Children's Hospital of San Antonio.

He said he has seen plenty of playground fractures.

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"Most times, arms and legs," he said. "We do see a significant number of small lacerations that need to be sewn up.

He cautions caretakers to inspect playground equipment for hazards that can catch children's clothing or cause cuts.

And, particularly in San Antonio heat, he said parents should touch the surfaces of the equipment and slides.

"People think, 'Well, it's not metal, it will be OK,'" he said. "That's actually not the case, and in very young children, you can get second- and third-degree burns from a slide, although that is unusual."

Child safety experts say make sure surfaces around and under equipment is soft enough to protect a child from serious injury in case of a fall. And, above all else, supervise children.

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