Trial shows that sand playground surfaces reduce risk of arm fractures from falls

December 14, 2009

School playgrounds fitted with granite sand surfacing significantly reduce the risk of children fracturing arms in comparison with wood fibre surfaces, according to a randomized trial published this week in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine.

Even in well maintained playgrounds there is always a risk of injury - in the United States alone, 200,000 children are treated for playground injuries a year. Andrew Howard (of the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada) and colleagues examined the rate of arm fracture as a result of falls on to two types of playground surface - granite sand and engineered wood fibre. Despite standards for the type and depth of surfaces used in school playgrounds, there is little information about the ability of different surfaces to prevent injuries. The researchers took advantage of planned playground replacement by the Toronto School District Board in a number of schools to perform a randomised controlled trial of the two surfaces in preventing injuries.

Over two and a half years, the researchers found that of the 19 schools that complied with the surface they were randomly assigned to, falls from height onto wood fibre surface resulted in more arm fractures than falls from height onto granite sand. The risk of an arm fracture was 4.9 times higher on a wood fibre surface compared to a granite sand playground. The rate of arm fracture and other injuries that were not as a result of falling from height did not vary between the surfaces.

These findings are limited by the small number of fractures that occurred in either group during the trial. Nonetheless, the researchers conclude that updating playground safety standards to recommend granite sand "will reduce the most common and severe injuries seen on modern playgrounds, without limiting children's access to healthy outdoor play."
-end-
Funding: The trial was funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research MCT 70318. The funders had no input into the collection, analysis or interpretation of data nor into the decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript. Playground installations were paid for by the Toronto District School board.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Citation: Howard AW, Macarthur C, Rothman L, Willan A, Macpherson AK (2009) School Playground Surfacing and Arm Fractures in Children: A Cluster Randomized Trial Comparing Sand to Wood Chip Surfaces. PLoS Med 6(12): e1000195. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000195

IN YOUR COVERAGE PLEASE USE THIS URL TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE FREELY AVAILABLE PAPER: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1000195

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: www.plos.org/press/plme-06-12-howard.pdf

CONTACT:
Andrew Howard
Hospital for Sick Children
Divisions of Orthopaedic Surgery
Room S - 107
555 University Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X8
Canada
+1 416 813 6430
+1 416 813 6414 (fax)
andrew.howard@sickkids.ca

PLOS

Related Children Articles from Brightsurf:

Black and Hispanic children in the US have more severe eczema than white children
A presentation at this year's virtual American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting reveals the disparities that exist for Black and Hispanic children when it comes to Atopic Dermatitis (AD), commonly known as eczema.

Black children with cancer three times less likely to receive proton radiotherapy than White children
A retrospective analysis led by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital has found racial disparities in the use of the therapy for patients enrolled in trials.

The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health: First Europe-wide study of children confirms COVID-19 predominately causes mild disease in children and fatalities are very rare
Children with COVID-19 generally experience a mild disease and fatalities are very rare, according to a study of 582 patients from across Europe published today in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.

Children not immune to coronavirus; new study from pandemic epicenter describes severe COVID-19 response in children
- While most children infected with the novel coronavirus have mild symptoms, a subset requires hospitalization and a small number require intensive care.

How many children is enough?
Most Russians would like to have two children: a boy and a girl.

Preterm children have similar temperament to children who were institutionally deprived
A child's temperament is affected by the early stages of their life.

Only-children more likely to be obese than children with siblings
Families with multiple children tend to make more healthy eating decisions than families with a single child.

Children living in countryside outperform children living in metropolitan area in motor skills
Residential density is related to children's motor skills, engagement in outdoor play and organised sports. that Finnish children living in the countryside spent more time outdoors and had better motor skills than their age peers in the metropolitan area.

Hispanic and black children more likely to miss school due to eczema than white children
In a study that highlights racial disparities in the everyday impact of eczema, new research shows Hispanic and black children are more likely than white children to miss school due to the chronic skin disease.

Children, their parents, and health professionals often underestimate children's higher weight status
More than half of parents underestimated their children's classification as overweight or obese -- children themselves and health professionals also share this misperception, according to new research being presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Glasgow, UK (April 28-May 1).

Read More: Children News and Children Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.