Playground injuries

Current playground safety standards are unsafe

With between 550-600+ emergency room visits for kids in the US due to playground injuries, it's something worthy of attention with the intention of reducing them. 79% are due to falls, which account for 90% of serious injuries. This makes the selection of appropriate safety surfacing pretty important. It's also important to note you really need to throw the current playground fall safety standards under ASTM F1292 in the trash, because they're irresponsibly outdated and grossly inadequate if you really care about avoiding head trauma for children on playgrounds.


The November 1999 recommendations and subsequent adoption in March 2000 of revised standards reached through new NHTSA crash tests proved that 1,000 HIC or 200 G's for playground fall safety thresholds are indeed unsafe. The entire automobile industry sat up took notice, rushing to increase their vehicle crash and head impact safety pratically overnight to keep their valuable safety ratings, while the playground insutry ignored it completely and tried to forget it exists. What changed were age-groups with different thresholds where it is LIKELY that traumatic brain injury (TBI) or death occurs: 390 HIC for under age 4, 570 HIC for ages 4 & 5, and 700 HIC for ages 6 through adult. 


So, the bottom line is, forget ASTM F1292's 1,000 HIC & 200 G's, use the real thresholds established by the same agency whose testing established playground fall safety standards in the first place, IF you want to minimize serious injuries and potential claim litigation. Aim for safety surfaces that meet or provide lower HIC scores for the playground age range and equipment involved.