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Free UAB service to help parents advocate for safer playgrounds, gyms
Date:4/19/2010

Simple tools developed by researchers in the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Human Studies will help parents and teachers identify potential dangers on playgrounds and in gymnasiums and give them the means to lobby for safer conditions.

The tools consist of two checklists that list a series of questions about the conditions of facilities and equipment on playgrounds and in gymnasiums. The checklists are available at no cost on the UAB Center for Educational Accountability Web site at http://www.ed.uab.edu/cea/playground_gym_assessment.htm.

"Our intent is to make the checklists available to anyone for free so that parents, teachers and others can advocate for safer playgrounds at PTA, PTO, school board or city council meetings," said UAB Professor of Health Education Brian F. Geiger Ed.D., FAAHE. "Parents also can use it to take action if it is a home play area that needs improvements for child safety."

Estimates of annual emergency room visits to treat children's playground injuries range from 50,000 to 200,000, according to a 2005 U.S. Consumer Product & Safety Commission report.

Disturbed by the high rates of playground injuries, UAB researchers and their physical and health education students developed a service-learning activity in which they examined 52 school and community playgrounds and 45 gyms across Alabama. The research team identified safety hazards at nearly all of the locations they visited, Geiger said. The results were published in the Californian Journal of Health Promotion last year. The project eventually led the UAB faculty to make the playground and gym safety checklists available to the public.

Many of the public and school playgrounds they surveyed had broken or missing equipment and poor maintenance that may lead to serious injuries, Geiger said. The researchers found playgrounds that wer
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Contact: Gail Short
gshort@uab.edu
205-934-8931
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Source:Eurekalert

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