Territory Stories

Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia Accident Vol.1 4 April 1994



Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia Accident Vol.1 4 April 1994

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Tabled Paper 269


Tabled Papers for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.




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PLAYGROUND INJURIES Many children are injured playing^on fjjayground (equipment either at school, in~their ownbackyard or in council parks.| -\ __ The type of equipme|t most commonly involved 'areJ the old favourites sw|ngs, mpjkeybars,see-saws- and slides. Children are most often injured by falling off the equipment but also by slipping over orcolliding with other children or objects. The NTInjury Surveillance System has seen 56 children over the past eight months as the result of playground injuries. Most often injuries were caused by falling. Twenty six children received broken bones, with15 needing admission to hospital. Fourchildren sustained head injuries. One child spent four days in hospital with a serious concussion. Another child was in hospital for five days and needed an operation after cutting the top off his finger from falling and getting it caught on a swing. It has long been recognised that the height and lack of guard- railing on conventional playground equipment are a hazard to young children. Fortunately there is now a trend towards the construction of more safely designed play equipment and playgrounds. This involves the use of tunnels, low-set platform forts and slides etc. which provide all the opportunities for balancing, swinging and climbing of the older style equipment but without the hazards, jt is also known that an adequate impact-absorbing surface underneath the equipment will reduce the severity of an injury if a fall does occur. As information from our Injury Surveillance System shows that most injuries are caused by children falling from-the equipment, it would seem that an appropriate ground surface would go a long way in helping to prevent injury. ' " ~ ;r " Follow these steps and help prevent children being hurt while at play. If setting up a new playground: select Standards Australia Approved adventure style equipment. use an impact absorbing ground surface. maintain equipment regularly. ensure equipment is installed properly. ensure pieces of play equipment are separated by a reasonable distance to prevent collisions. For existing playgrounds: maintain equipment regularly, ensuring there are no hazards such as sharp edges, splinters, rusted or loose bolts, exposed springs etc. make sure equipment is still properly anchored to the * ground. install an impact absorbing ground surface. ensure the playground area is free of rubbish, broken glass or other such hazards. Teach children playground safety never walk in front of swings. use equipment properly eg. dont stand up while on a swing or monkey bar etc. keep fingers clear of areas such as chains where they could become jammed. And of course , always watch children while at plaiy. Ground surface Various materials have now been identified as providing an appropriate soft impact absorbing ground surface: finely mulched bark chip pine peelings mesh rubber crumbs and grape marc (residue) shredded rubber combined with fine pine bark is considered the ideal surface. Each of these materials must be layered, compacted and retained at a particular depth if injury is to be prevented. Most of these materials are cheaper than previously-used surfaces such as sand or maintained grass. Sand is unsuitable as it compacts into a hard surface, particularly when wet. Editorial We at Kidsafe are concerned about the continuing high number of severe injuries resulting from children playing on playground equipment. Information gained from Injury Surveillance Systems,has enabled particularproblem equipment and areas to be identified so that we now know, what is causing the injuries and how to prevent them. It is up to all of us parents, school staff and members of school councils as well as local government councillors to identify any problems in our playgrounds and follow the guidelines set out in Accident to get rid of them. Of particular significance is the need for appropriate ground surfaces to be included as part of the playground. If you would like to know more about playground safety, or anything else to do with child safety generally, contact our Kidsafe office. The Injury Surveillance Scheme is financed by a grant . from the National Better Health Program through the He.alth Promotion program of the Northern Territory Department of Health and Community Services. Kidsafe (NT) gratefully acknowledges continuing generoussup port from the Department. We also wish to thank the staff of the Emergency departments of the Royal Darwin and Darwin Private != Hospitals,-and the Medical Records Department of the Royal-Darwin Hospital for their help. Printing of the news sheet has been kindly supported by ACTION PRINT Pty Ltd Telephone: (089) 454164, Facsimile: 270108.

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