Entanglement is a condition in which an article/part of a child’s clothing or something around a child’s neck/torso (i.e., a loose string, hood lacing or loop) has the potential to become caught or entwined on a playground component. This kind of hazard poses the risk of strangulation. Falls are the most common cause of injuries on playgrounds, but entanglements are the major cause of death and debilitating injuries.
Entanglement Hazard Examples:
- Connecting devices (S-hooks/C-hooks)
- Exposed bolts that extend beyond 3.0 mm
- Broken welds on playground equipment
Projections and protrusions can occur on several pieces of playground equipment. It is especially common for these hazards to be on swings and slides. When they are left alone for too long and become more severe, they turn into entanglement hazards. It becomes much more likely that a piece of clothing will get caught. There is a high probability that an accident will occur if an entanglement hazard is allowed to develop and it could cause major injuries. Frequent inspections and good maintenance are essential in creating a safe playground environment.
ASTM 3.1.12; 6.4- 6.4.5
What to look out for
It is imperative to check S-hook or C-hooks for protrusions. Look out for anything on your playground that could catch a child’s clothing or cause their neck to get stuck. Swings and slides are where many entanglement hazards are found. Watch out for protrusions in these areas, as they can turn into entanglement hazards if they are not rectified. Gaps between platforms and slides or other equipment can cause a child to get stuck, so watch out for entrapment hazards as well. These also pose a risk of strangulation. All edges of playground equipment should be round so clothes cannot get caught on them, in addition to preventing lacerations. Any sharp edges are dangerous.