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MAP: These City Playgrounds Have the Most Injuries

 Eleven kids were hurt in Evelyn's Playground in Union Square Park in 2013 and 2014, records show.
City Playgrounds with Most Injuries
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UNION SQUARE — When it comes to playgrounds, newer isn't necessarily safer.

The two city playground that saw the most bumps, bruises and broken limbs in 2013 and 2014 are newer play areas with top-of-the-line equipment — not the chronically neglected playgrounds with ramshackle swings and slides — according to playground injury reports obtained by DNAinfo New York.

At the top of the list was the innovative Evelyn's Playground in Union Square Park, where children flock to a giant silver dome that begs to be climbed and a spinning wheel that lets kids whirl through the air.

The playground, which opened in December 2009 and got a new play surface in 2014, routinely appears on lists of the city's best playgrounds. There were 11 children — and at least one mom — hurt there.

Jesh Basdeo, who was watching a friend's kids at Evelyn's Playground earlier this week, said he considers the playground safe, but worries about some of the equipment. He recently saw a 6-year-old boy break his wrist after falling off a blue spinning apparatus on the north end of the playground.

"Kids going on that, it's not a good thing," Basdeo said. "It's not safe at all. It was a bad injury."

Second in the injury rankings was Slope Park on Sixth Avenue and 18th Street in the South Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. Families eagerly awaited the playground's reopening in 2013 after a lengthy renovation. But just months later, at least seven kids had fractured their legs on a brand new swing there. The parents of several of those children sued the city, amid a 53 percent rise in personal injury claims in city parks over the last decade, according to City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Older playgrounds had their share of injuries as well. At Gouverneur Morris Playground in the Bronx, which was built in 1959 and last renovated in 2001, a swing broke while a 9-year-old girl was using it. Two of the playgrounds on the injuries list, Bowne Playground in Queens and Carmansville Playground in Manhattan, are on the city's list of "under-resourced" parks targeted for upgrades by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The city's Community Parks Initiative will fund “playground associates” trained in emergency protocols to staff 55 of those neglected playgrounds this summer, the Parks Department said.

All told, there were 60 injuries on city playgrounds reported by either Parks Department staff or 311 callers in 2013 and 2014.

Other hazards revealed in the Parks Department's injury reports include:

Safety Padding: Although safety padding is supposed to keep kids from doing too much damage to themselves when they tumble to the ground, the padding was linked to five injuries, mostly involving kids tripping and falling on loose or frayed mats. The Parks Department repaired the mats in those cases, a spokesman said.

Getting Stuck: Kids got stuck in swings and other equipment and had to be removed by firefighters in five instances.

Adults Get Hurt Too: The most frequently injured children were 10-year-old girls. But parents got scraped up too. A 43-year-old mom hurt an ankle while sliding down the metal dome at Evelyn's Playground, and a 30-year-old dad injured both ankles so badly he couldn't walk on his own and took a cab home from Morningside Park's 123rd Street playground.

Risky Behavior: A few injuries were the result of  kids making risky moves on the playground. In one case, a 6-year-old boy broke his arm when he jumped off a slide at Chelsea Park during a game of zombie tag.

Parks Department officials said that they're constantly working to eliminate safety hazards for the nearly 2 million children who use the city's 1,000 public playgrounds. All of the sites are inspected regularly under a "data-driven" Playground Inspection Program, a parks spokesman said.

"Safety is our first priority, and NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver’s commitment to child safety is clearly demonstrated by our ongoing work to strengthen our already-excellent playground safety practice and our timely response to equipment issues flagged by parents and caretakers,” a Parks Department spokesman said Tuesday.

He added that the city welded into place the spinning saucer that caused most of the injuries at Evelyn's Playground, calling it “just one example of scores of safety measures we have taken over the past year."

The Parks Department also removed the dangerous swing at Slope Park, and welded or removed spinning disks at six other parks in addition to Evelyn's Playground.

Still, some playground regulars said anything can become a hazard if caretakers don't keep a close enough eye on kids when they're playing on the equipment.

Nanny Emma Millon said the child she cares for was disappointed when the city halted the spinning dish at Evelyn's Playground.

"I had no idea why they welded it," said Millon, who was looking after a 2-year-old at the playground. "It occurred to me it was a safety thing, but you can't always blame the equipment, if parents aren't watching."