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NYC Playgrounds Are A Major Cause of Childhood Accidents

Playground Accidents Remain Alarmingly Common Across New York City and May Expose Property Owners or The City To Liability

playground accidentMANHATTAN, NEW YORK  – Playgrounds can be great sources of exercise and fun for children across New York City, but they can also be quite dangerous and are involved in many serious accidents each year.

According to New York Presbyterian, “From 2019 to 2021, there was an annual average of approximately 155,900 playground-related injuries to children under the age of 16.” Many of these injuries are so serious that they require hospitalization.

Nearly one-third of all injuries in NYC playground accidents were categorized as severe. Falls accounted for 88% of all injuries. This could include instances where children fall from swings or slides. Certain types of equipment accounted for a disproportionate number of injuries.

  • Climbing Equipment: This could include jungle gyms, monkey bars, and climbing walls.
  • Swings: There are a number of hazards posed by swings, including falls.
  • Slides: Poorly designed slides can cause children to accelerate too quickly. If the ground they fall onto is asphalt or otherwise hard, this could lead to injuries.
  • Seesaws:Traditional seesaws pose a serious risk of children falling off, especially if the two children involved are different sizes.
  • Merry-Go-Rounds: The nature of these pieces of equipment causes a great deal of centrifugal force to be applied to the children holding on. This can cause them to be violently thrown off and potentially hit other equipment or fixed objects.

The number of serious accidents and injuries across New York City playgrounds has also led to a number of lawsuits. What follows below are just a few of those claims.

  • One mother filed a lawsuit when her child sustained a serious laceration after stepping on a glass bottle in the children’s sprinkler area.
  • A dad filed a lawsuit when his child broke their forearm after falling from equipment.
  • There were a total of 7 claims involved in wheel ride accidents at East Harlem’s Dr. Ronald E. McNair Playground.
  • Several claims were filed after five children broke their legs on a swing set at Slope Park Playground in Brooklyn. The swing set was installed too low to the ground and has since been removed.

Brooklyn had the most claims across all of the boroughs in New York City, with 209 cases. This was followed by Manhattan with 123 claims. Bronx playgrounds and Queens playgrounds had 111 claims each. Staten Island playgrounds had the lowest number of claims, with just 23.

Injuries from playgrounds can stem from accidents as well as criminal activity. What follows below are some of the most dangerous parks in NYC.

  • Central Parkhad 649 major crimes and five rapes.
  • Prospect Parkhad 192 serious crimes and two murders.
  • Riverside Parkhad 194 major crimes and five rapes.
  • Crotona Parkhad 102 serious crimes and 14 assaults.

City officials, including Mayor Eric Adams, have promised to make repairs to aging and dangerous playgrounds across the city. In fact, 1 in 10 New York Housing Authority playgrounds has been cordoned off because they are unsafe. The playgrounds in question have a number of problems.

  • Some of the equipment is covered in peeling paint.
  • Much of the equipment is covered in rust.
  • Certain pieces of equipment are reinforced by pieces of wood.

Depending on the type of accident that takes place and how it occurred, a school, municipal entity, or property holder could face liability.

Don’t Wait: If your child has been injured on a New York City playground, you may have legal recourse. The NYC playground accident attorneys at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. are here for you. You can contact us anytime at (516) 908-9792.

Liability For New York City Playground Accidents

Playgrounds can be inherently dangerous places for children. This is particularly true when equipment is being misused. But with the right safety precautions and supervision, a large number of accidents can be prevented. Supervising adults should always closely monitor the children in their care in order to prevent accidents. What follows below are some of the steps that the owners of playgrounds should take in order to prevent injuries.

  • Regular Maintenance: Property owners should ensure that all of their equipment is regularly inspected and maintained.
  • Safe Surfaces: It is highly predictable that children will fall when they are on playgrounds. Property owners should therefore use impact-absorbing materials such as wood chips, sand, or rubber to lessen the impact of falls.
  • Proper Installation: Only trained professionals should install playgrounds to ensure manufacturing guidelines are being followed.
  • Sun Protection: Playgrounds are mostly made out of metal and therefore become dangerously hot when directly exposed to sunlight. A canopy can protect children from being severely burned.

If a child is injured on a playground, there could be more than one liable party. Property owners in New York have a legal responsibility to maintain their properties in a reasonably safe condition. This must be done for the protection of everyone on a property whose presence is reasonably foreseeable. When a property owner has actual or constructive notice that a playground is in a dangerous condition, they must act. There are many ways that a playground could be in a dangerous condition.

  • A property owner could be liable for broken equipment. In particular, swing sets can be extremely dangerous if they break apart during use.
  • Schools could be liable for children being injured on playgrounds if those children were not being adequately monitored.
  • Playgrounds can be in a dangerous condition if they have uneven surfaces, which cause children to fall.
  • Poor maintenance can lead to equipment deterioration, which results in sharp edges and may lead to serious injuries.

The vast majority of playground accidents are preventable. Many children are left with very serious injuries, including broken bones. In many cases, children sustain traumatic brain injuries, which could alter the trajectory of their lives. It is important for parents to understand that they may have legal recourse if their child is injured on a playground. A NYC playground accident attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.

Getting Legal Help After Playground Accidents

We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our best wishes to all of the children injured in playground accidents and their parents. The injuries involved in these accidents can be very severe and traumatic for all involved. If you or someone you love has been injured in a NYC playground accident, it is best to consider your legal options. You may be able to seek compensation through a legal claim.

Have you or someone that you care about been injured in a playground accident? You may have legal recourse. Our team of personal injury attorneys is here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that accident victims get the justice and support that they are entitled to. Whether you just have legal questions or are thinking about hiring an attorney, we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (516) 908-9792.


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Jeff Korek

Jeff S. Korek

Senior Trial Partner​

Jeff S. Korek joined Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. in 1992 as the Senior Trial partner. Known for his meticulous preparation and dedication to his clients, Jeff has obtained some of the state’s highest verdicts and settlements.