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Playground Safety

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Children love playgrounds at any time of the year but even fun places need to to be properly designed and maintained, and kids need to be supervised. 

Watch Children on Playgrounds at All Times

  • Always supervise children on playgrounds and check the equipment ahead of time. Look for rusted or broken surfaces, nails or screws sticking up, and report hazards to the local school or county office.
  • Teach your children that pushing, shoving or crowding while on the playground can be dangerous.
  • Dress children without necklaces, purses, scarves or clothing with drawstrings that can get caught on equipment and pose a strangulation hazard.
  • When sliding, go down one child at a time, waiting for the person ahead to move away.
  • Always slide sitting down and facing forward; never headfirst. 
  • Never climb up the slide or over the sides.
  • Take shoes off young children to prevent them catching on the side, and never sit with them going down the slide, both of which can cause a significant leg injury.
  • When swinging, allow only one child per swing and wait until it stops before getting off.
  • Don't walk too close in front of a moving swing.
  • When climbing, take stairs or steps slowly, hold the handrails and don't climb or slide support poles or beams.

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

  • Children under 5 should be in separate play areas.
  • For babies learning to walk, all surfaces should be smooth and easy to walk on.
  • Babies who have good head control and can sit up with support (usually around 9 months old) can try bucket swings.

Check for Safe Surfaces Below Equipment and In Surrounding Areas

  • Playgrounds should always have surface materials such as sand, pea gravel, wood chips, mulch, shredded rubber, rubber mats, synthetic turf or other artificial materials; avoid play areas with non-impact absorbing surfaces, such as asphalt, concrete, grass, dirt or gravel.
  • Surfaces should be at least 12 inches deep and extend a minimum of 6 feet in all directions.
  • Surfaces under swings should extend twice the height of the suspending bar in front and behind.

Make Sure That Playgrounds Are Regularly Inspected and Maintained

  • Check your child's school and day care center to make sure they have age-appropriate, well-maintained equipment.
  • Report any hazards immediately and do not allow children to use the equipment until it is safe.

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