Follow Playground Safety Tips to Prevent Injuries

Girl inside a playground tunnel.

Playgrounds are a great source of fun and exercise. Parents and caregivers can take some simple steps to make sure preventable injuries don’t ruin the fun:

  • Adult supervision is the best way to prevent injuries. Make sure babysitters know supervision is more than just being in the same place as a child – it is giving a child your full attention.
  • Falls are the leading cause of playground injuries. While bumps and bruises are inescapable parts of childhood, playground falls can also lead to fractures or head injuries.
  • Loose fill surfaces like wood chips or shredded rubber help absorb the energy of impact in a fall. Avoid playgrounds on concrete, blacktop, or hard earth.
  • Loose fill materials should be 12 inches deep and extend 6 feet from the equipment. Fall zones for swings and slides are even larger.
  • Kids should only use equipment designed for their ages. Toddlers, 2- to 5-year-olds, and 5- to 12-year-olds all need different equipment.
  • Guardrails and protective barriers should be in place for elevated surfaces like platforms and ramps.
  • All openings should measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches so children cannot entrap heads, arms, or other body parts.
  • Check for objects that stick out of equipment or gaps in equipment that could trap clothing (or cut a child).
  • Kids should not wear clothes with drawstrings or cords, or carry items like backpacks or purses that could get caught on equipment and cause strangulation.
  • Teach kids to use equipment properly: slide feet first, do not climb outside guardrails, do not stand on swings, and stand back while waiting for other children on climbing equipment.
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