Playground injuries cost ACC $188k

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Crash scene . . . Abigail Dustow returns to a slide in Marlow Park in St Kilda on Monday. It is where she injured herself in a fall earlier this month. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Playground injuries are keeping the Tooth Fairy busy.

But a Dunedin mum urges parents to put away the bubblewrap, as it’s all part of growing up.

Accident Compensation Corporation data released to The Star reveals the number of claims for injuries of children, aged 12 and younger, at playgrounds in Dunedin.

More than 1000 claims were made and the corporation paid nearly $189,000 between the start of 2015 and the end of last month.

The part of the children’s bodies injured the most were their teeth, followed by sprained ankles and wrists, fractured forearms and sprained elbows and forearms.

Abigail Dustow (8), of Waikouaiti, injured herself playing on a slide in Marlow Park in St Kilda earlier this month.

After sliding down, she lost her balance, tumbled, her face hit the ground and a tooth pierced the inside of her top lip.

Sporting a fat lip to school was more of a concern than the injury itself, she said.

The injury did not require any medical attention and had since healed.

Abigail’s mother, Chanel Dustow said children should not be “bubblewrapped” to protect them from injuries.

As a parent it was “devastating, gut-wrenching and absolutely horrible to see your kid bleeding and hurting” but accidents were going to happen as children were growing and often had two left feet, she said.

Dunedin Hospital emergency medicine specialist Sierra Beck said dental injuries in children were common.

Her daughter Sydney Pomerleau featured in the statistics supplied to The Star

Sydney (4) was injured when playing at St Clair School on a Saturday in February this year.

She ran into a slide and injured her teeth.

The roots of a tooth died and a dentist removed it.

Dental injuries were common because children were clumsy and fell frequently.

A child’s head was heavy, relative to other parts of their body.

“When they fall forward their upper front teeth are the first thing to hit the ground.”

A child falling on an outstretched hand would explain most of the other more common injuries.

Dr Beck has been working as a doctor in the hospital’s emergency department for more than two years.

Surfaces and equipment at 58 playgrounds in Dunedin are being upgraded as part of a $1million project by Dunedin City Council.

Soft fall – a rubber surface under equipment designed to prevent injury from falls – and some equipment was being replaced and repaired following a condition assessment of all its playgrounds last year.

Council parks and recreation manager Robert West said the first phase of its project would be completed in November.

“The next phase of the project has just gone out to tender. We are continually improving our play surfaces and our contractors regularly carry out compliance surveys.”