Playground Safety

Overview

Playgrounds are fun places, but they may have hazards that can cause injury. Following some basic safety measures can help your child have fun and play safely.

  • Find playgrounds that have safe equipment.
    • Make sure there's a soft surface under play equipment, such as sand, wood chips, or rubber matting.
    • Check the surface temperature of play equipment if it's warm outside.
    • Use wooden equipment that has a smooth surface made from all-weather wood. Check surfaces now and then to make sure there are no splinters.
    • Check equipment for loose joints, open chains, exposed bolts, sharp edges, and rust. If the equipment is in a public park, report any problems to the park's staff.
    • Use swings that are made from soft and flexible material.
  • Know what activities are safe at different ages.
    • Closely supervise children younger than age 5. Have them play on the equipment separately from older children.
    • Don't let a child younger than 4 use climbing equipment that's taller than they are, unless you will watch the child at all times.
    • Don't let children younger than 3 use a teeter-totter (seesaw). Children younger than 3 don't have the coordination to safely use them. Partners should be close in age and of similar weight.
    • Have children sit in a bucket swing with leg holes until they can safely sit in the middle of a standard swing.
  • Help your child be safe when on the equipment.
    • Have your child use both hands on the swings. Don't allow more than one child on the same swing. Help your child learn to stay away from swings while others are using them.
    • Make sure children go single-file up steps to use slides. Make sure that they don't climb up the slide's surface. Have your child exit the landing of the slide quickly, so that other children coming down the slide don't fall on your child.
    • It's best to keep your child off trampolines. Trampolines aren't safe for children. Even with constant adult supervision and protective netting, many children are injured on them.
    • Make sure that your child doesn't wear things that could get caught in playground equipment. Avoid things like a necklace, a hooded sweatshirt, or a helmet.

Credits

Current as of: September 20, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine

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