Parent’s Guide to Playground Safety

Protect Your Child from Playground-Related Injuries 

Playgrounds are such fun. They encourage children to test and expand their physical abilities; which is also how accidents can happen so easily. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger each year for playground‐related injuries.

Make sure your child’s playground is a safe place to play! Use this simple Playground Safety Checklist each time you head to the community park or backyard swing set to help avoid preventable injuries, and possibly even save a life.

Playground Safety Checklist

  1. Make sure the surface around playground equipment has at least 10‐12 inches of a shockabsorbing material such as wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel, or surface mats made of safety‐tested rubber or rubber like materials.
  2. Be sure the protective surface area extends at least six feet in all directions from the equipment. The surface area for swings should extend twice the height of the suspending bar, both in back and front.
  3. Equipment should be safely anchored to the ground, have all pieces in good working order, s‐hooks entirely closed and no bolts or splinters protruding.
  4. Make sure there are no ropes, jump ropes or pet leashes attached to the play equipment, and that your child has no strings on their clothing. Children could accidentally strangle on these.
  5. Openings in guard rails or between ladder rungs should measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches so they do not trap children.


  1. Make sure the equipment is appropriate for your child’s age, size and developmental abilities.
  2. Be sure that elevated surfaces, such as platforms and ramps, have guardrails to prevent falls.
  3. Check for sharp points or edges in equipment.
  4. Look out for and if possible remove any tripping hazards. Tripping hazards can include rocks, tree stumps, and concrete footings.
  5. Regularly check play equipment and surfacing to make sure both are in good condition.
  6. Regardless of age, always supervise your child closely on playground equipment to make sure they are safe. 

Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission


Important Info about Playground Injuries

According to the CPSC, Over 70% of all playground injuries are related to falls to the ground. More injuries occur on climbers than any other equipment on public playgrounds, and swings are responsible for most injuries on home playgrounds.

These are just a few things you can do to protect your child from playground injuries. Please visit or and click on “Family Safety and Legal Tips,” to see our latest safety videos and downloadable materials, and to register for Free Safety Alerts.