Playground Safety: Everything You Need To Know

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
26 min read

A trip to the playground is more than just a good time for children. Children can use their bodies, minds, and social abilities in this way. For healthy development, it provides an opportunity for children to engage in unstructured, spontaneous play. Just make sure the playground equipment is safe, and then sit back and enjoy the show.


Size It Up

Look for a playground that has equipment that is appropriate for your child’s age and ability, as well as one that is appropriate for their size and developmental stage. It is possible to break smaller swings meant for younger children if they are used by adults. In addition, younger children may have trouble reaching and climbing on equipment built for larger children.

Is Your Playground Safe? 8 Things Parents with Young Children Need to Know

What’s Underneath?

U.S. officials say this. Every year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USPSC), emergency rooms treat more than 200,000 children injured on playgrounds. Falls from playground equipment are the most common cause of playground injuries. Because of this, the best method to avoid injuries is to ensure that the surface beneath it is capable of absorbing and softening the force when youngsters fall on it.

Hard surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt, should be avoided. Grass, despite its appearance, is not a shock-absorbent surface. Underneath play equipment, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) advises a thick layer of one of the following materials:

  • Mulch, pea gravel, wood chips (12 or more inches deep)
  • rugs crafted from rubber or a rubber-like material that has been safety-tested

Climbing Structures

Climbing is a favorite childhood activity for many children. Strength, coordination and depth awareness are all enhanced as a result of this activity.

To prevent falls or getting caught on climbing equipment:

  • Guardrails or barriers should be installed on platforms that are more than 30 inches above the ground and designed for school-aged children.
  • There should be no more than 312 inches between the ropes of cargo nets and 9 inches between the ropes of cargo nets. This is to protect a young child’s head from becoming caught while also preventing a quick descent.
  • Stairs, steps and rungs, the horizontal supports used to climb a ladder, should be evenly spaced. The diameter of round rungs that can be held by small hands should be between 1 and 1 12 inches.
  • Make sure there are no sharp corners or edges. Check for nails or screws protruding from timber buildings. Rust or peeling paint on metal buildings could contain lead and should be avoided.
  • Anything that could get caught on a piece of equipment and pose a strangulation risk should not be worn or played with by your child. Sweatshirts with drawstrings or necklaces, for example, should be avoided, as should jump ropes and pet leashes. Wearing a helmet on the playground can be dangerous, so make sure your youngster doesn’t bring one.


It doesn’t matter what kind of slide you’re looking for; it’s all about the thrill for youngsters.

Keep in mind:

  • Metal slides can burn a child’s hands and legs if they are exposed to the sun for long periods of time. Plastic slides can also get extremely hot. Look for playgrounds with shaded slides on hot, bright days.
  • Children should be able to grab onto the rails at the top of slides that feature a platform. In order to prevent children from falling off the slide, there should be some sort of barrier at the top, such as a guardrail, hood, or similar structure. The sides of open slides should be at least 4 inches high.
  • A slide’s base should be clear of any debris or other youngsters that could cause injury. A child’s safe landing may be jeopardized if these obstacles are present. There should be an equal spacing in front of the slide platform that is clear.
  • To prevent head injuries, have your child learn to go down the slide feet first and to make sure that anyone in front of them has gone all the way down before they start sliding down the slide themselves.
  • If you’ve got kids in your arms, don’t slide down the slide with them. Research has shown that children’s legs frequently get snagged and hurt as they fall, even if you are holding them.


Swinging has been demonstrated to help children relax, improve their sensory skills, and even improve their ability to work with others.

To avoid injuries:

  • Shock-absorbing surfaces beneath a swing should be at least twice their own height in order to protect children from injury.
  • A swing should be at least six feet away from any walls, fences, or other obstructions.
  • Rubber, plastic, or canvas are all good options for swing seats because they are soft and comfortable to sit on.
  • Swing chains with open or “S” hooks should have them closed to form an 8-pointed star.
  • To avoid tipping, swing sets should be fixed firmly in the ground.
  • It is best to keep swings at least a few feet apart. More than two swings in the same area should be kept to a minimum of 24 inches apart and no more than two seat swings (or one tire swing).
  • Refrain from allowing children to jump or swing on their stomachs. Teach your children to stay out of the way of other children using the swings by reminding them not to run in front of them.


Even on age-appropriate, safe playgrounds, the best approach to prevent injuries is to have an adult supervise and guide the children. Nearly half of all playground injuries, according to the data, may be traced back to a lack of adult supervision. Keep a watch on your child when they climb, slide, swing, and glide, and be prepared to step in if they are misusing the equipment!

Additional Information & Resources

  • Caution! Playtime with the kids!
  • Tips for Playground Equipment Safety at Home
  • Children’s playgrounds (Consumer Product Safety Commission)
  • Safe Playgrounds (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Supervise Kids Using Playground Equipment

  1. Keep a close eye on children when they’re playing outside. Your kids will be begging you to come play with them as they run, jump, and swing around.
  2. Make sure your children’s playgrounds are safe. Keep an eye out for potential dangers including rusty or broken equipment or slippery surfaces. The school or a local government agency should be notified of any potential dangers.
  3. Encourage youngsters to understand the dangers of crowding, pushing, and shoving on the playground.
  4. Make sure you’re dressed adequately for school. Strangulation hazards include necklaces, handbags, scarves, and other apparel with drawstrings that could get trapped on equipment. Even wearing a helmet on a playground can put you at risk, so save them for riding a bike.
  5. Small children can play in a different way than big children. A separate play space for children under the age of five is essential.

Choose the Right Play Area Based on Your Child’s Age

  1. Make certain that children’s playground equipment is age-appropriate. There should be designated play areas for children under the age of five.
  2. It is important that the play area has a smooth and easy-to-walk surface for babies who are starting to walk.
  3. Swinging a baby in a bucket-shaped swing is a great option if your child has adequate head control and can sit up with support.

Playground Safety Standards & Playground Safety Training | AAAStateofPlay

Ensure Safe Surfacing Beneath and Surrounding Playground Equipment

  1. Don’t play on playgrounds that have non-impact absorbent surfaces like asphalt or concrete.
  2. Sand, pea gravel, wood chips, mulch, and shredded rubber are all good options for a parking lot’s surface. Safer and easier to maintain are rubber mats, synthetic turf, and other artificial materials.
  3. An adequate depth of 12 inches and a six-foot radius should be maintained around stationary equipment. The surface may have to go over 6 feet in length depending on the equipment’s height.
  4. Make sure the surfacing reaches twice the height of the suspending bar in the rear and front of the swing. As a result, a 10-foot-high swing set requires a 20-foot-long surface.

Check That Playgrounds Are Inspected and Maintained by Qualified Personnel

  1. Verify that the playground equipment at your child’s school and child care center is age-appropriate and well-maintained.
  2. Keep children away from dangerous playground equipment until it’s safe to do so, whether it’s in a public or backyard setting.
  3. Any dangers to children’s safety on the playground should be reported to the organization in charge of the area (e.g., school, park authority or city council).

It is estimated that approximately half of all playground-related injuries that occur in the United States each year are severe.

You may be asking yourself, “Are playgrounds safe?” in light of this. There is no doubt about it: certainly, they can be. For youngsters to know how to properly utilize playground equipment, they need to have a basic awareness of playground safety and observe playground safety guidelines.

How to Teach Kids Playground Safety

Playground safety should be taught to children as early as possible. Go over a checklist of playground safety rules with your child before you set out to play. Take a few minutes to remind them of the rules of the game and how the equipment should be used.

If you’re able to do so, it’s a good idea to show kids what to do at the playground by doing it yourself. Hold on to the railings of playground equipment and the handles of a see-saw while sliding down a slide feet first with your youngster.

Playground Safety Checklist

The following playground safety checklist is a great place to begin the conversation with your child about safe play.

1. Always Follow Playground Equipment Rules

To begin with, make sure your child is utilizing equipment that is appropriate for his or her age. A swing or set of steps shouldn’t be used until a child is tall enough to reach the ground from them.

In addition, stress the significance of using equipment properly. A fall from the monkey bars, for example, could result in a serious damage to the child. Experimenting is great, but it’s wiser to play it safe.

2. Look Before Using

Before letting your child play on a piece of playground equipment, teach him or her to conduct a short safety check. Make sure there aren’t any other youngsters in the tunnels or on the slide before you get in there. Your child’s safety and the safety of others can be protected if you take this precaution.

3. Be Mindful of Surroundings

When children are having so much fun running about the playground, it’s easy for them to lose sight of their surroundings. Keep your kiddo’s head up and eyes open while they walk around the park. The golden rule of playground safety is to avoid standing directly in front of swings and slides by walking at least a few feet away from them. Keep an eye out for other children and adults as you go about.

4. Avoid Wet Equipment

After a rainstorm has passed and the sun has begun to shine, it may be tempting to take the kids to the park. The dangers of damp playground equipment, even if your youngster takes his or her time crossing it, cannot be overstated. Be prepared to clean out a play area and teach your youngster to only play on sections that have been thoroughly dried off if you must visit the playground.

5. Wear Appropriate Clothing

Prevent injuries by keeping kids out of clothing that could get caught in play equipment or cause them to trip and fall. Sweatpants are the perfect choice for a trip to the park since they provide additional protection from falls and bumps. Keep an eye out for any straps, buttons, or threads that could tangle with the equipment you’re using, such as slides and swings. Ask your child to remove any jewelry before playing, including necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.

6. Play Games Away from Playground Equipment

Playing games like hide and seek, tag, and hopscotch at the park is a favorite pastime for children. However, accidents can happen to them or other children if they are playing on or near playground equipment. Remind children to play on the ground, preferably in an area of the park that is not near any play equipment, and to keep an eye out for other children while they are playing.

Playground Safety Rules Keep Everyone Safe

Keeping your child and others safe at the park is easy with the playground safety checklist outlined above. A parent’s responsibility to keep a close eye on their children cannot be underestimated. Keep an eye on your children at all times and teach them not to engage in conversation with strangers unless you’re present. The playground can be a joyful and safe place to be if you and your child do your part.

When choosing a playground:

  • Check the framework is appropriate for your child’s age and stage of development before you begin.
  • Ensure that your child is capable of reaching and climbing equipment on his own, even if it is higher than him.
    • Sand, wood chips, and synthetic (man-made) materials, such as shredded rubber, are all good options for playground surfaces. A child’s fall will be cushioned by this material.
    • Make sure the fill is both thick and loose. Preschool equipment should have a fill depth of at least 15 centimeters (6 inches). For full-sized machinery, the fill should be at least 12 inches deep.
    • It is not a good idea to place playground equipment on surfaces such as grass, dirt, asphalt, or concrete.
  • As a fall prevention measure, be sure that the equipment you’re using has sturdy handrails and obstacles.
  • Ground anchors should be used to secure any equipment.
  • Verify that the equipment is free of rubbish, glass, and animal waste.
  • Swing seats should not be made of wood or metal, but rather a soft material like plastic.

Before your child uses a playground:

  • Verify the outfit of your youngster. Equipment can become tangled up in strings, so make sure there are no dangling cords.
  • The winter months are the best time to use a neck warmer and mitten clips instead of a cord.
  • Detach the bicycle helmets. When a helmet is too big to go through a tight gap, your child’s head may get stuck there and not be able to be pulled back out.
  • While playing with playground equipment, put away your skipping ropes.
  • Verify that the equipment satisfies CSA requirements and that the recommended age range for children utilizing the equipment is displayed.

Supervise your child

  • Keep a tight eye on your youngster. Children under the age of 5 should always be accompanied by an adult.
  • Make sure your youngster is using the equipment correctly and safely.
  • Make sure your child understands the importance of taking turns on playground equipment and keeping an eye out for other children.

Get involved in playground safety

It is possible for communities to ensure that their local public playgrounds are meeting CSA criteria. When it comes to doing so:

  • Look for potential dangers and prioritize any necessary improvements by hiring a trained expert.
  • Make the necessary modifications to keep the playground secure.
  • Keep the playground equipment, surface, and grounds free of dirt and debris.
  • The operator of the playground, such as a municipality, school, or child care center, should be notified of any injuries.

Consult the playground’s operators with any concerns you have about its security.

  • Children’s play areas and playground equipment must meet CSA criteria. It is possible to obtain the most recent suggested standards by visiting or by dialing 1-800-463-6727.
  • You can get safety checklists from your local or provincial injury prevention center, your local children’s hospital, or Parachute to make sure your playground is free of common dangers.

Non-traditional outdoor play areas are available in some towns in place of playgrounds. Community flower or vegetable gardens, as well as sand or water play facilities, are other examples. It is less expensive to build these play areas and it is possible to design them in a way that challenges children’s growth without putting them in danger of falling or becoming imprisoned. To see examples of alternative playgrounds, visit

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Play & Park Structures?

At Play & Park Structure since 1976, our primary goal is to help children learn, build community, promote physical activity, and foster an appreciation for the environment.

Where are your products made?

Our 400,000 square foot, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified production and distribution plant in Fort Payne, Alabama, produces the vast majority of our products.

How do you warrant your products?

One of the best warranties in the industry is offered by Play & Park. With our Play & Park Structures product line we offer limited lifetime warranties on everything from post clamps to post caps and all of our hardware. There is a 15-year limited warranty on most other components. Please read the following page for information about our warranty. WARRANTY

5 Things to Avoid When Creating a New Playground

How can I be sure my playground is safe for children?

Children are the focus of every Play & Park Structures playground. In accordance with ASTM standards, all IPEMA-certified products are available. To ensure that our products are safe, we work hard to meet the requirements of the CPSC and CSA. Quality, production, and installation standards have been recognized by ISO 9001 (for manufacturing standards of quality, production and installation) and ISO 14001 (for environmental management).

How long do your playgrounds last?

All Play & Park Structures posts, clamps, caps, and hardware are covered by a limited lifetime warranty. A 15-year limited warranty is offered on the majority of other components. Our warranty policy may be found HERE.

Do you provide any financial options?

Yes! A new playground for your school, church, or community can be created in a variety of ways. A number of buying groups have included Play & Park Structures (TCPN and GSA, for example). It is possible to acquire without going through the bid procedure thanks to these national purchasing cooperatives, which leverage vast purchasing potential pools. Our leasing scheme, provided by Navitas, also allows our consumers to purchase our products. The application form is available RIGHT HERE.

We are a small community. Where can we find funding or better pricing?

For the best price, contact Play & Park Structures. However, you may get the most out of your budget by using our leasing program or purchasing contracts. Visit our website’s Funding section by clicking HERE.

How do I contact a representative close to me?

Across the country, we offer well-versed recreation consultants. Learn more about your local representative and their contact details by using our ‘Find Your Consultant’ locate tool.

What is the estimated project timeline?

For the fastest delivery possible, you can choose a pre-designed structure from our website or catalog, but we also provide custom designs. If you want a unique design, it will take longer to create and render. 3-4 weeks after you place your order, your equipment should arrive.

What if I find damaged parts after delivery?

At the time of installation, some defective components may be discovered. Contact your representative immediately if a defective part is discovered during installation. Until the problem is rectified, keep the product’s packing and documentation.

How much do your playgrounds cost?

For cost information, consider your space’s dimensions and the precise materials you want to use. Playgrounds can be designed to fit nearly any budget. It is a good idea to look for freestanding things if money is an issue, rather than a full play system, to increase play value.

How do your playground’s designs promote safety?

Every single one of our products is designed with the needs of children in mind. In accordance with ASTM standards, all IPEMA-certified products are available. To ensure that our products are safe, we work hard to meet the requirements of the CPSC and CSA. Our playground experts take into account factors such as the height of the playground components, the appropriate use zones, and pathways that encourage a good flow of traffic inside the play area to prevent unnecessary hazards while designing your structure..

Who is that character on your website?

In his spare time, Pete enjoys taking long walks on the beach and spending time with his family in the local park.

Does my playground need safety surfacing?

What is the warranty on your products?

Metal decks, pipes, rungs, rails, and loops are covered by a fifteen-year warranty.

It is possible to obtain additional guarantees upon request.

Despite the fact that most of our playground structures are covered by these warranties, there are a few exceptions.

How long have you been a Playground Expert?

When it comes to playground construction, our years of experience have given us a deep understanding of the ins and outs of every step of the process.

Do you offer installation on your park and playground projects?

Even though we do provide installation services, some of our play and site equipment is really easy to put together. A professional installation or community/self installation is the most cost-effective option when working with an Expert.

Do you offer custom playground design services?

Yes, that’s the simple answer. To be more specific, our playground designers have designed hundreds of different playground structures as a result of their extensive knowledge and previous work on similar projects. We’ve chosen our top 50-60 designs and put them up on our website. That being said, if you don’t find anything that you like, we’d be pleased to design one for you!

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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