Because they are movable, mobile soccer goals are commonly used by elementary and secondary schools as well as colleges and city parks. Their mobility, however, increases their instability. Since 1979, at least 17 deaths have been associated with soccer goal tip-overs according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Most of these accidents take place when a child or young adult climbs on or hangs from the crossbar of an unattended or improperly anchored soccer goal and it tips over on the youngster. In one instance, a sudden wind blew an unanchored goal on a victim.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission, along with the Coalition to Promote Safe Soccer Goals, has launched a safety information and warning label program alerting the public to this danger. The CPSC and the Coalition are urging schools, coaches, players, and park officials to adhere to the following guidelines:
- Always anchor or counterweight portable goals securely with a stake, sandbag, or auger anchor.
- Never climb on the framework of the goal or the net.
- Remove nets when goals are not in use.
- Chain unused goals to sturdy fixtures, such as fence posts or dugouts, or tip them onto their goal faces.
- Check all connecting hardware before every use and immediately replace any damaged or missing fasteners.
- Disassemble goals completely for seasonal storage.
These are avoidable accidents. Playgrounds can be made safer for our children. You can begin to do your part by seeing that the right warnings and safety labels are prominently displayed on this equipment in your neighborhood. Labels can be obtained by writing to “Safe Goals” c/o SICA, 200 Castlewood Dr., North Palm Beach, Florida 33048.