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August 1995

Injuries From Falls on Playgrounds: Effects of Day Care Center Regulation and Enforcement

Author Affiliations

From the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (Drs Briss and Sacks and Mss Kresnow and O'Neil), Preventive Medicine Residency Program (Dr Briss), and the National Center for Infectious Diseases (Dr Addiss), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(8):906-911. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170210080014

Objectives:  To measure the incidence of playground fall injuries among children attending licensed US day care centers and to evaluate how injury incidence varies with center characteristics and with the regulatory and enforcement climate in which centers operate.

Design:  Telephone surveys of directors of day care centers and enforcement agencies and review of written day care regulations.

Setting:  Probability sample of licensed day care centers in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Participants:  Children attending day care centers with playgrounds.

Main Outcome Measures:  Medically attended playground fall injuries.

Results:  Among the 1740 day care centers studied, a weighted total of 89.2 injuries occurred during the 2-month study period (0.25/100 000 child-hours in day care). The most important risk factor for injury was height of the tallest piece of climbing equipment on the playground in both bivariate (P=.01) and multivariate (P=.02) analyses. Neither regulations addressing playground safety or playground surfaces nor enforcement patterns were associated with lower injury rates.

Conclusions:  Additional effort is needed to develop and evaluate regulations and enforcement that reduce injury risks for children while minimizing burden on day care centers. In the meantime, limiting climbing equipment heights may reduce playground injury rates.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149:906-911)

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