Playground Safety

Each year, more than 200,000 children are injured on America’s playgrounds. That’s one child every 2½ minutes. Lack of supervision is linked with 40 percent of playground injuries.

The best way to prevent injuries on playgrounds is close supervision.

Falls are the No. 1 injury children get while playing on playgrounds.

Strangulation is the leading cause of equipment-related fatalities on a playground.

  • There should be no loose hanging ropes. They are a strangulation risk. A rope should be secured at both ends.
  • Never let your child wear helmets, necklaces, purses, scarves, loose clothing or clothing with drawstrings while on a playground.

Teach your child the rules of the playground, including:

  • Never walk in front of a person swinging.
  • Go down the slide the right way, never backwards or head first.

Before using playground equipment, make sure the metal surfaces are not too hot. They can cause serious burns if a child touches them.

  • Always wear footwear when playing on playground equipment.

If your home has a playground, make sure to:

  • Install the playground according to the manufacturer’s instructions and pay careful attention to anchoring (to prevent the playground set from falling over).
  • Install surfacing to the appropriate depth based on the surface rating and the height of your playground to help soften the impact of falls and prevent serious injuries. Recheck depth frequently and replace as necessary. Good surfaces include rubber, sand, wood chips and bark.
  • Install the playground at least 6 feet away from fences or walls.
  • Check all fasteners on the playground frequently to ensure proper fit.
  • Asphalt, dirt, concrete and grass are not acceptable surfaces to place underneath playground equipment.
  • A 1-foot fall onto concrete could cause a concussion.

If you see something unsafe while at a playground, notify the local agency, organization or school in charge to make it aware so it can fix the problem. 

Last Updated 04/2015