Playgrounds are supposed to be safe places for children, but not all playgrounds are up to scratch. A missing bolt, a cracked swing set, or a worn-out slide can all cause painful and disfiguring amputation injuries that last for the rest of a child’s life. Unfortunately, these kinds of playground injuries happen all the time, forcing little ones to cope with the trauma and disability for the rest of their lives.
Amputation Hazards on Tennessee Playgrounds
Amputations are typically caused by crushing and shearing hazards on playground equipment. Any sharp metal can potentially slice part of a child’s body, while gaps in equipment can trap small fingers or toes.
It only takes a second for a child to suffer an amputation from:
- Roller slides. Roller slides were once thought to be safer than traditional models since their conveyor-like surfaces slowed down a child’s momentum. However, these slides pose a new problem: the potential for catching and crushing children’s fingers in the gaps between rollers.
- Metal structures. Older play structures were often made of folded sheet metal, which may rust or separate over time. This creates a razor-sharp opening on the sides of ladders and slides, slicing the fingertips of children gripping the rails on their way down.
- Swings and track rides. Amputation is especially likely when forward motion combines with parts that move against each other. This type of movement is common on swings, see-saws, track rides, and other playground features involving gravity or propulsion.
- Grates and fencing. Any gap on a playground can become a potential shearing or pinch point to a small child, including fences, drains, grating, and support poles.
Can Someone Be Held Responsible for a Child’s Amputation Injury?
The majority of playground accidents could have been avoided with a little more care. It will take a thorough investigation of the park, equipment, and circumstances of the accident to determine who may be held liable for your child’s injury. For example, the daycare employee responsible for watching your child may be considered negligent if they were not paying attention when the injury occurred.
Negligence can occur throughout the life of a play structure, but most commonly occurs as a result of:
- Poor design and manufacturing. Manufacturers have a duty to ensure the products they release to the public are safe for use. This includes revising any hazards during the design phase, preventing errors on the production line, and providing adequate safety warning labels to educate consumers.
- Improper installation. Play equipment must be put together properly and have enough spacing between features to stop children from becoming entangled on the structure. An installer may be held liable if they failed to follow the manufacturer’s instructions or used improper tools or hardware during assembly.
- Inspection failures. A missing bolt creates a gap that can attract a curious child’s finger, resulting in the loss of the fingertip or even the entire digit. To ensure that the playground is safe for children of all ages, a trained Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) should regularly examine all equipment and grounds. Part of these inspections involve probes and wooden dowels used to simulate fingers, which are poked into suspected crush points, shear hazards, and pinch points. Without these inspections, potential playground hazards may go undetected.
- Ignoring recalls. When playground equipment causes serious injury, responsible manufacturers may issue recalls to protect other children. If supervisors fail to check the makes and models of their equipment for active recalls—or ignore recall warnings for fear of expense—they could be putting children at risk.
If your child was injured on a playground in Tennessee, we can determine who is at fault and what your family may be owed under the law. Our lawyers provide injury clients with a free initial consultation and represent their interests on a contingent fee basis, meaning we do not collect anything unless we secure a recovery for you. To learn more about your claim, download a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.