LANSING, MICH. ( WLNS)—- In the United States, more than 200,000 children ages 14 and under, visit an emergency room for playground-related injuries. 80% percent of those injuries are caused by falls.

Today, when playgrounds are built, they’ve got to meet a set of safety standards put in place, to keep people using them protected. According to Robert Ford, who’s been designing playgrounds since the 1970s, it wasn’t until serious injuries occurred in the 1990s, some of which led to death, were those regulations put into place.

He says, one of the cases involved a young girl whose drawstring got caught when she was going down a slide, strangling her. That case is what inspired playground construction changes.

Ford also says, Like in this case, most people don’t think about playground safety until after an injury occurs, and there’s a number of things parents should look for before kids start playing.

What to watch for:

  • Warning labels
  • Separate play areas
  • Trip Hazards
  • Elevated areas without guardrails
  • Large Gaps

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should avoid wearing or playing with anything that could get caught on equipment. It also discourages parents from going down the slide with kids on their lap, due to the risk of leg fractures.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conducting research, to better understand what specific activities are putting kids at risk.