Number of playground injuries can be reduced

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Six-year-old Nicklas White started his summer with a bit of a bummer.

"Nicklas got hurt on the monkey bars at school," said the boy's father, Michael White. "I asked him to make a fist, which he could not, and so I knew right away that it was a more significant injury."

Dr. Kelly Levasseur treats a lot of playground injuries in the emergency room.

She said the monkey bars are the No. 1 culprit.

"Maybe one out of three kids that I see here comes in from some type of playground injury," Levasseur said. "Falls from monkey bars are probably the most common. Also, falls off of ladders, falls off of any type of climbing toys."

Levasseur says picking playgrounds with age-appropriate equipment is key.

"If you have a preschooler, you want to make sure that the slides they're going to go on aren't more than four feet," she said. "You want to make sure that there's tunnels, you know, that are on the ground instead of something that's up high."

The ground covering is also important. Rubber or woodchips can help cushion a fall.

"You want to stay away from playgrounds that have concrete or grass covering," Levasseur said.

Avoid playgrounds that have poorly maintained equipment, including rusty bolts or sharp edges.

Close supervision can prevent a lot of injuries, but many caregivers are making a critical mistake.

"Playground injuries have gone up because more people are on their cell phones and they're not paying attention to what their kids are doing and what equipment they're on," Levasseur said.

Nicklas has taken his broken arm in stride.

"He got to pick out the color and got a waterproof cast, which is really great because now, with the cast, he can go in the water, he can take showers," Michael White said.

He said you can't protect kids from everything.

"When you have a young boy who's very active, who's exploring his own world, I mean, it's going to happen," Michael White said.

But the injury has made he and his wife think twice.

"We were going to have him play flag football in the fall and now, it's like, you know, he's only six," Michael White said.

Levasseur said she doesn't think playground injuries will ever be eliminated.

"We can definitely decrease the number of injuries, especially the number of severe playground injuries," she said.