New research from Churchill Home Insurance has highlighted the injury risks posed to children on play equipment this year. As it is estimated that British parents have spent more than £1.36 billion on outdoor play equipment for their children this year – an average of £166 being spent by nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of parents.
However, while many parents are spending big on keeping their children entertained at home, the research also suggests that parents may not be investing in suitable safety equipment to ensure their children are not harmed while using them.
More than a fifth (21 per cent, or 7.1 million) of parents say that they have a child who has been injured either at home or away in the past year. While a larger proportion of parents (19 per cent) say that the injury happened at home, one in seven (14 per cent) say that their child was injured on another person’s property.
The leading cause of outdoor injury amongst children is garden play equipment, such as slides, swings and trampolines, accounting for nearly half (47 per cent) of injuries. Water play equipment, such as paddling pools and water slides, accounted for a third (31 per cent) of accidents and other garden objects, such as trees, tree houses and steps, accounted for 22 per cent.
Of all garden play equipment, trampolines have caused the highest number of accidents, with nearly three million occurring in the past year alone. This is followed by swing sets (2.65 million accidents), slides (2.34 million) and bouncy castles (2.02 million).
When it comes to injuries sustained in accidents, fortunately the most common issues are minor, with the three most frequently-cited injuries being bruises (42 per cent), sprains (17 per cent) and lacerations (16 per cent). However, the next most common and more injuries are broken limbs (10 per cent) and head injuries (nine per cent).
One factor behind these injuries could be a lack of safety precautions being taken by parents when it comes to having protective materials under play equipment, 45 per cent of parents have nothing in place at all. Furthermore, of the parents who say their children have been injured whilst playing at home, 43 per cent said that the child had not been supervised the whole time they were playing.
Overall, two fifths (40 per cent) of accidents involving children on garden play equipment over the past year have occurred at another child’s house – the equivalent of nearly 5.8 million accidents reported by 4.8 million parents.
LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR? NOPE, SUE THEM OVER A PI CLAIM INSTEAD
While many of these injuries may not be serious, there is a growing trend amongst parents to view litigation as a potential avenue in the wake of their child being injured on another parent’s property. One in six parents (16 per cent, or 5.4 million adults) say that they would be prepared to commence legal action against another parent if their child was injured on their property. With almost a third (31 per cent) of parents saying that their child has experienced an injury on someone else’s property in the past, this shows that the risk of litigation is significant.
Meanwhile, more than a fifth (22 per cent) of parents claim that they did not know that they could be sued because of another child being injured on their property. Churchill is advising parents not only to ensure that any play equipment they own is safe and suitably supervised whilst in use, but also for parents to be fully aware of the legal implications of an accident and ensure that they are covered for any subsequent costs incurred as a result of legal action.
Pritpal Powar, Head of Churchill home insurance, said: “The happiness of their children is one of the most important things for a parent, which is why Brits have invested so much in play equipment to keep their children active and entertained this summer. However, it can be easy to overlook the potential dangers associated with things like climbing frames and trampolines – many of which can risk significant falls for smaller children.
“While suing another parent would never be the preferred course of action for anyone, it is also their imperative to keep their children safe, which is why so many parents would be prepared to seek legal action if their child is injured on another property. We would therefore recommend that parents ensure any play equipment they do own has suitable safety equipment installed, such as rubber matting, bark chippings or sand, to soften any falls, and also to ensure that they are insured should the worst happen.”
Property owner’s liability – Churchill will pay up to £2,000,000 to cover your legal liability for damages you have to pay if someone makes a claim against you for:
- accidental death or illness of, or bodily injury to, any person
- accidental loss of or damage to property
This will also include costs, expenses and legal fees for defending you, if we have agreed this in writing beforehand.