Playground injuries: a scientific appraisal of popular concerns

J R Soc Health. 1991 Aug;111(4):134-7. doi: 10.1177/146642409111100405.


The widespread public concern in Britain over childhood injuries arising from playground accidents is examined using a new national data base on leisure accidents managed by the Department of Trade and Industry. Popular beliefs about the level of risk, the nature and cause of injury, and remedial measures are found to be unsupported by the analysis. Playground risks are comparatively low; accident causes are diverse and most involve long bone injuries and not head injuries as has been widely reported; and the cost of some popular risk reduction measures would seem to be incommensurate with the reasonably-anticipated risk reduction which they might afford. It is suggested that for those who wish to reduce risk further, consideration should be given to increasing public awareness of the many causes of risk, of the opportunities which the individual has to control risk, and of the inevitability of residual risk.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Play and Playthings*
  • Public Opinion*
  • Risk Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*