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Kids Design: Applying Science to Kids' Safety

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Many people have asked whether we can prevent children from unintentional injuries using playground equipment. To answer this question, we analyzed accident data, created predictions for children's behavior, and came up with effective playground equipment designs that protect kids from serious and fatal injuries. Humans should be able to solve accidents "through design" since most accidents are caused by the devices and environments designed by people. This concept of kids design is not limited to playground equipment. Recent technology opens a scientific way of designing for kids.

Our research into applying science to children's safety was carried out in partnership with pediatricians, private businesses, local governments, and other stakeholders. The first step was to collect a massive amount of data on accidents. We then analyzed the data in detail, by age and by time of day when accidents happen to kids as well as by what the children were doing, what things they were using, and what the consequences of the accidents were. It allows us to understand statistical connections between children's behavior and accidents. The collected injury data are currently published on a website.

Our experts can predict the behavior of children and provide effective advice to manufacturers on designs that can prevent serious injuries, using data derived from detailed measurements and analyses of accident sites and circumstances. This approach is not limited to developing playgrounds and can be applied to other products. Moreover, we can also draw attention to the dangers lurking in kids' behaviors and provide information on preventive measures for such latent dangers. Science and technology can do a lot to keep kids safe from unintentional injuries.

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