Playgrounds have existed decades — outdoor play areas designed for young children to swing, slide, pretend, and just be kids. More and more indoor gyms for children are being opened as well. Unfortunately, the fun these playgrounds and gyms present are met with corresponding risks.
Children have continuously been injured on playground and gym equipment due to defective parts on a playground, and the property owner’s failure to properly inspect the equipment prior to allowing kids to play on it. We have seen these range from minor cuts and lacerations to severe fractures that require surgery. In fact, at Pullano & Siporin we represented a 6 year-old girl who suffered an awful leg injury at an indoor children’s gym, and we were able to settle case for $225k.
Under Illinois law, playground hazards are the responsibility of owners, operators, schools, parents, and all other caretakers for children on the playground.
Most people do not realize that playground equipment should be certified as safe before being open to the public. For a playground to be deemed safe, there are several steps that must be taken in order for a playground to be certified.
What Are the Requirements for Playground Certification in Illinois?
The playground equipment and the property itself should be inspected by a nationally certified playground safety expert. The Consumer Product Safety Commission provides individuals extensive education and training on playground safety prior to being certified. These licensed safety experts have specialized training at identifying hidden hazards and can make changes before an accident occurs.
In Illinois, in order to pass the requisite safety inspection, all protective surfacing must follow the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requirements and guidelines. That means all surfaces under or around the playground equipment should be soft and cushion a fall.
Additionally, the state of Illinois also requires “fall zones” around all playground equipment. For swings, the fall zone must extend to twice the height measured for the supporting bar. These guidelines allow for children to fall safely and not into other equipment, which would obviously result in unnecessary injuries.
Illinois also regulates the sizes of openings on equipment. This is because children often enter openings feet first and attempt to slide through openings. If the opening is not large enough, a child’s head can become trapped. As a result, Illinois requires that there should be no openings between three and a half and nine inches.
It seems obvious to some, but Illinois law also requires that a day care director or other supervisor inspect the playground for hazards before children go outside to play — a guideline which helps to ensure there are no damages or hazards present. Thus, it is important for the day care director and/or supervisor to be knowledgeable at these safety standards. Some, but not all, of the safety standards are available online at http://green-up.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/03.11.15-CPSI-Booklet-for-Distribution-FINAL.pdf
Supervision of Children While at School
For there to be as few risks as possible at a playground, there must be a qualified child care director on site for the full duration of the day. He or she must be at least 21 years old and must have two years of college experience, as well as pass any required trainings to successfully fit this role.
Proper supervision of a playground environment goes a long way toward the overall safety of the children. As a result, the playground should be designed so that it is easy for a parent or caregiver to observe the children at play. If they can not observe all the children due to the size or layout of the playground, additional supervision should be provided. By doing so, the staff must also make sure that all areas of the playground are always visible to ensure maximum child safety.
Call Your Chicago Injury Attorney
Meeting playground safety and compliance requirements is of high importance, as a child’s life could be at stake if the requirements have not been met. If your child has been seriously injured on defective playground and/or gym equipment or while under the supervision and indoor children’s gyms, you are not alone.
At Pullano & Siporin, we understand that seeing your child in bad pain caused by an accident on a defective playground is devastating, and we will help you protect your child’s rights and ensure justice on their behalf. By doing so, you can focus on helping your child recover from his or her injuries and provide them the love and support they will need during those difficult times.
To schedule your free consultation, call an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer at 312-551-1100 to get the assistance you deserve.