To compare playground hazards in high- and low-income neighborhoods.
Forty-five playgrounds were randomly selected from the 9 New York City community districts that met our study criteria and were divided into high- and low-income groups based on comparison to the median of the median incomes ($24,452 per year) of the 9 districts. Playgrounds are maintained by the City of New York Parks and Recreation Department and were assessed by one of us (S.A.S.) using a standardized on-site survey based on the US Consumer Product Safety Commission's guidelines for public playground safety.
Main Outcome Measures
Total hazards per play area were subdivided into 3 categories: park design hazards, equipment maintenance hazards, and equipment hazards relating to fall injuries. A play area was defined as an individual set of equipment.
Twenty-five (56%) of the parks were located in low-median-income districts and contained 98 (53%) of the total play areas. High- and low-income playgrounds did not differ significantly in the amount or type of equipment, mean fall injury hazards per play area, or mean park design hazards per play area. Low-income districts had a significantly higher mean total hazards per play area (6.1 vs 4.2; P=.02) and mean equipment maintenance hazards per play area (2.1 vs 1.0; P=.02).
Significantly more hazards per play area were identified in the low-income group compared with the high-income group.