To analyse the most recent trends and characteristics of playground equipment-related injuries in children.
We used the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database to acquire cases of playground equipment-related injuries in children ≤17 years old between 1995 and 2019. A total of 184 580 unweighted cases met our study inclusion criteria.
A total of 5 356 703 (95% confidence interval 4 235 530-6 477 876) emergency department visits for playground-related injuries in the USA were estimated during the study period which was equal to an average of 29.4 annual injuries per 10 000 US population ≤17 years. The mean age was 6.5 (standard error 0.049) years. School-aged (42.7%) and pre-school children (35.3%) accounted for most playground injuries. More than half of the injuries were reported in males (53.6%). Most injuries occurred with climbing apparatuses (36%), followed by swings (25.9%) and slides (20.9%). Overall number of injuries (∆ - 22.3%, P = 0.01) and incidence (∆ - 21.6%, P = 0.01) had a declining trend after 2012. However, reported concussion injuries showed an increasing trend during the study (∆ + 28.3%, P < 0.001). A marked seasonal variation in number of injuries existed with most injuries in May and September.
Although injuries arising from playground equipment have decreased during the past 8 years, there was an increase in number of reported concussions. The outcomes of this study suggested that further efforts should be directed towards such serious injuries.

© 2021 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (The Royal Australasian College of Physicians).