Health services and local authorities can work together to help prevent playground injuries

June 11, 1999

(Preventing injuries in public playgrounds through partnership between health services and local authority: community intervention study)One way of improving safety in children's playgrounds is for health services and local authorities to form a partnership in the surveillance of injuries and the making of improvements to facilities, say researchers from Cardiff. Writing in this week's BMJ Professor Jo Sibert and colleagues from the University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff County Council and the University Hospital of Wales report the outcome of such an initiative undertaken in Cardiff.

Professor Sibert and his team identified injuries in public playgrounds from accident and emergency departments in the local area. They then liaised with the local council which made several changes to its largest playgrounds, in light of the injuries sustained. Changes included increasing the depth of bark in the play area and replacing 'monkey bars' (overhead horizontal ladders) with a rope climbing frame.

Injuries in playgrounds where changes had been made fell from 53 in the 18 months before changes to 21 in the 18 months after. There was only a small fall from 35 to 28 in control playgrounds. The authors conclude that such a partnership is simple to apply, does not need expensive resources and could be introduced widely to help reduce playground injuries.
Contact: Professor Jo Sibert, Professor of Community Health, Department of Child Health, University of Wales College of Medicine, Academic Centre, Llandough Hospital, Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan


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