Keeping Kids Safe at the Playground

Posted On Thursday, 28 May 2015
Keeping Kids Safe at the Playground
As an orthopaedic trauma surgeon, I tend to see a lot of accidents and injuries.

The most common thread among these injuries is that most can be avoided.

With the unofficial start to summer upon us, we all hope for more sunny and fun filled days. Each year, more than 200,000 children in the U.S. are injured on playgrounds - the most common injury is from falling off monkey bars - where they will require medical attention.

A safe, accessible playground with rubberized surfacing helps minimize these fall-related injuries.

As a practicing orthopaedic surgeon in Gulf Breeze, Florida. I often see first-hand the types of injuries that children sustain from unsafe playgrounds. Most injuries result from falls to the surface or on another piece of equipment.

Other injuries occur when children are left alone or they hurt themselves on damaged equipment.

Playgrounds need to adhere to basic safety guidelines. It is everyone's responsibility to make our playgrounds safe. So, the next time you visit a playground, I urge you to take the time to inspect the area to prevent unnecessary injury.

Other ways to minimize playground-related injuries include:

  • Never leave children alone on playgrounds.
  • Inspect playground equipment for damaged, worn or missing supports, anchors, rails, protective caps, steps and seats; sharp edges or points due to wear or breakage; and debris such as broken glass or metal and other hazards like rocks or tree roots.
  • Check the playground surface. Look for shock-absorbing materials like rubber or loose fill such as double-shredded bark mulch or engineered wood fibers. Don't let children play on surfaces like asphalt, concrete, soil, packed dirt and grass.

For more information on playground safety visit

Let's have fun, be active, and stay safe!

Dr. Jan Szatkowski

Dr. Szatkowski is a fellowship-trained orthopaedic trauma surgeon who specializes in preventing or reducing permanent disability in the most complex orthopaedic cases. Dr. Szatkowski treats patients for various orthopaedic needs such as post-traumatic arthritis, simple and complex fractures, revision surgery and joint replacement surgery at the Andrews Institute.

Dr. Szatkowski has previously practiced in Chicago, where he was the chairman of orthopaedics at one of the busiest trauma centers in the country, John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County. Dr. Szatkowski completed a fellowship at Campbell Clinic's Level 1 Trauma Center at the Regional Medical Center in Memphis, Tenn. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine and completed his residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Dr. Szatkowski is passionate about providing the highest quality of care possible with open, honest communications with patients; treating the patient as an entire person, rather than just the immediate medical problem.

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