JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- In the wake of the death of a 10-year-old boy on a swing set at a Jacksonville park, playground safety experts provided First Coast News with a checklist to help avoid playground tragedy.
A new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission detailed how the agency investigated 34 deaths associated with playground equipment from 2009-2014. Of those deaths, nearly 56 percent were the result of hangings or other asphyxiations. Five deaths occurred on swings, according to the report.
The CPSC recommended the following to parents to help prevent serious injury or death at a playground.
- Always supervise kids and make sure kids use playground equipment appropriate for their age.
- Never attach ropes, jump ropes, pet leashes or strings to playground equipment; children can strangle on these.
- Make sure children’s clothing does not have any drawstrings as they can catch on slides and other equipment.
- Make sure surfaces around playgrounds have 9-12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel, or mats made of safety-tested rubber.
- Check that protective surfacing extends at least 6 feet in all directions from play equipment. For swings, be sure surfacing extends, in back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar. Look out for tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.
- Don’t let kids play on slides/surfaces that are burning hot. The weather does not have to be warm in order for equipment to heat up and cause burns. If it feels hot to your hand, it may be too hot for a child’s bare skin!
- If you believe your child’s playground is not safe, report your concerns to the appropriate owner, park district or school.
To file a complaint with the City of Jacksonville, you can call 904-630-CITY.