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What happens if your child gets hurt on a playground?

When you kiss your kids and send them off to school in the morning, you assume that they will be coming home a little more tired but no worse for the wear of a long day at school. Unfortunately, for some children, the daily activities they enjoy at their school could leave them vulnerable to serious injuries.

Every year, more than 200,000 children under the age of 14 across the United States suffer serious injuries on playground equipment at their schools. Knowing a little bit more about those injuries can help you protect your child and take action if necessary after a playground accident.

Playground injuries are often worse than you might expect

According to statistics analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 45% of reported playground injuries qualify as severe injuries. The most common serious injuries associated with playground accidents include:

  • fractures (broken bones)
  • concussions/brain injuries
  • dislocated joints
  • internal injuries
  • amputations

If a child suffers a serious injury at recess, the school will likely immediately evaluate them for and contact a parent. In most cases, the parent will need to collect the child and take them to seek medical care.

Girls are at higher risk than boys

People love to say that boys will be boys in reference to roughhousing and horseplay. Most adults tend to think of little boys as the ones who will become more aggressive or violent when playing with peers, but an analysis of reported playground injuries shows that kind of gender essentialism doesn't play out at recess the way that adults might think it does.

55% of those with serious playground injuries will be girls, while boys comprise the remaining 45% of injured children. The majority of the kids hurt on a playground will also fall between the ages of five and nine.

The most common injuries can often be quite expensive

Whether your child suffers a closed-head injury or a broken leg, your family could have thousands of dollars in medical costs to cover. Depending on the kind of insurance your child has, their health policy may not cover any of those costs.

Children who get hurt at school while enrolled in Medicaid coverage will become dependent on the school's premises liability insurance policy, as Medicaid will not pay on claims where other insurance should provide primary coverage. Private insurance may cover most of the costs, but you could still have obligations to pay co-insurance, co-pays or a high deductible.

In the event that you have medical expenses and other financial losses, such as lost wages due to staying home to provide care for your injured child, you may need to file an insurance claim or even take civil action against the school.

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