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About 1,700 Utah elementary students injured yearly on school playgrounds, study says

First Published      Last Updated Apr 24 2017 11:13 pm


Over three years, enough students were injured annually to fill 24 school buses.

A new study from the Utah Department of Health showed that about 5,100 elementary school students in the state were injured on school playgrounds over a three school-year period.

Nearly two-thirds of students in kindergarten through sixth grade who experienced injuries at school from mid-2012 to mid-2015 were hurt on school playgrounds, the study found. The yearly tally of students injured over that time — 1,700 students — is enough students to fill 24 school buses.

The Utah Department of Health has tracked school playground injuries for more than 30 years, said Hillary Campbell, a student-injury reporting technician. Clumsiness and using equipment in ways other than intended by equipment designers accounted for a majority of accidents.




"We want our kids to have fun and be active," Campbell said. "But just make sure you're aware of these things so you can step in before something escalates with students or your own children."

Fifth-graders suffered more playground injuries than any other grade, according to the study, making up about 17 percent of hurt students.

The top playground injuries in that three-period, by far, were bone fractures or possible fractures, accounting for 50.2 percent of all injuries. Cuts or lacerations made up 14 percent, while bumps, bruises and contusions were about 9 percent of the total.

Most common activities leading to injuries were playing on bars, 26.5 percent; running, 23.5 percent; and walking, at 6 percent.

The study also found that falls were the leading cause of injury, at 37.8 percent followed by tripping/slipping, 29.7 percent; and collisions at 23.7 percent.

The study drew only on injuries reported to the department that were severe enough for the student to miss at least half a day of school or warrant medical attention.

Reporting injuries at school is voluntary, but Campbell said more than 800 schools participate.

kgifford@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kelgiffo

 

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