This week two consumers' groups released a joint study on playground safety. It found that 3 out of 4 playgrounds don't have enough of the right surfacing to protect children if they fall. Consumer Federation of America and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group say every year more 170 thousand children visit the playground and end up in the emergency room..
Playground safety expert Dick Crothers says to prevent children's accidental falls from becoming major accidents, a rubber type material is the best the market has to offer, but that safety doesn't come cheap. Crothers says the expense is the biggest reason many playgrounds don't meet government safety standards. Along with falls, he says another danger parents should be aware of are narrow openings where kids' heads or arms can get stuck.
"Our most precious resource that we have are our kids and our grand kids and by protecting them we are protecting an investment in our country and our family," said Crothers.
The first playground Pennzoil Park in Biloxi, fared well in Crothers' safety inspection, but the second one, at Popps Ferry Elementary, fell far short.
"This one I'd give about a "D" because there are some inherent problems that need to be taken care of," said Crothers. "This set is in need of water treating, also it should be edges routerd for more safety. There are a few spots where there's an entrapment problem."
Popps Ferry Elementary principal Andrea Petro says the school's PTA is in the process of ordering $12,000 worth of new playground equipment. She says the equipment we saw today will either be refurbished or replaced.
Crothers says although changing technology is helping to make playgrounds safer, the best safety precaution is still adult supervision. The safety expert says it's also important for parents to look for playground equipment that is appropriate for their child's age.
If you would like to find out how you get an inspection of your local playground you can call Dick Crothers at 228-822-9070.