New research was presented at FMX 2020, the 2020 American Academy of Family Physicians virtual Family Medicine Experience, from October 13-17. The features below highlight some of the studies emerging from the conference.
With supracondylar fractures of the humerus (SCH) as the most common fractures sustained following a fall on an outstretched hand in health children, study investigators sought to examine the causes and circumstances surrounding SCH in public play spaces, particularly to determine if playground equipment implicated in injurious falls was compliant with Canadian Standards Association standards, similar to standards used by the US-based Underwriter Laboratories. Children aged 6-12 who sustained SCH while playing at a public play space were recruited for the study. At sites where the injuries occurred, play structure type and dimensions, fall height, and type and depth of surface material were collecrted and compared with relevant CSA standards. Among 28 sites where the depth of woodchip surfacing could be measured, only seven met the minimum CSA depth. Among 34 children, 14 fell from heights exceeding CSA standards, with eight upper body structures (ie, monkey bars) including takeoff platforms too far away from handgrips. All rotating play structures had less than half of the required clearance between components. “Municipalities and school boards can be alerted [by physicians in their community] to the need for regular maintenance of woodchip playground surfacing, in order to remain compliant with the minimum surface depth and prevent serious injuries and cautioned to assess… compliance with height and clearance standards when purchasing and installing equipment,” conclude the study authors.