Avoiding Danger at the Playground

Accidents happen -- especially at playgrounds, where 200,000 children every year suffer serious injuries. Read on to make sure your child plays it safe.

Playground Risks

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Last spring, Grace Weisberg and her 4-year-old son, Jeremy, went to a Dallas playground for an afternoon of fun. After watching her son play for an hour, Weisberg said it was time to leave. Jeremy obediently started to climb down the circular ladder. He was six feet off the ground when he suddenly lost his grip and fell backward. His mother watched in horror as Jeremy's head smacked against a metal bar and he tumbled to the ground with a sickening thud.

As onlookers ran toward them, Weisberg dragged her little boy away from the structure and cradled him in her lap. Blood poured from Jeremy's scalp, soaking her white blouse. He was crying hysterically, but at least he was conscious.

With the help of another mother, Weisberg loaded Jeremy into her car and drove to the nearest hospital. E.R. doctors took X rays and stitched up Jeremy's scalp. After observing him for the rest of the day, they sent Jeremy -- and his very relieved mom -- home. "I was afraid he'd cracked his skull," Weisberg says. "We were very lucky."

Many of the 200,000-plus children treated in emergency rooms for playground accidents each year aren't as lucky. Broken bones are the most common injuries, but they're far from the worst: Each year about 15 children die from strangulation and head wounds suffered at playgrounds -- places where our kids are supposed to be safe.

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