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Playground Surface Plays a Role in Kids' Injuries

Landing on granite sand is deemed safer than wood fiber

TUESDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- The chances that a child will break an arm in a fall are much lower on playgrounds with granite sand surfaces than on those with wood fiber surfaces, new research has found.

Researchers at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto looked at 19 schools that had playground surfaces of either granite sand or engineered wood fiber. Their findings were reported online Dec. 14 in PLoS Medicine.

The risk of a broken arm resulting from a fall from some height was nearly five times higher for wood fiber surfaces than granite sand surfaces. There was no difference in risk when the researchers looked at broken arms that resulted from falls that did not involve height.

Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that updating safety standards to recommend the use of granite sand surfaces for playgrounds would "reduce the most common and severe injuries seen on modern playgrounds, without limiting children's access to healthy outdoor play."

Each year in the United States, about 200,000 children are treated for playground injuries, they noted.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about playground safety.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: PLoS Medicine, news release, Dec. 14, 2009

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