Playground Safety QUICKGuide

One size does not fit all

Preschoolers (ages 2-5) and school age children (5-12) are at different developmental stages and require different types of equipment.  Choose divided playground areas based on age and equipment size, or playgrounds specifically designed for your child’s age group.

Check the surface

Falls are common, and are the leading cause of playground injury.  Look for materials with give to them; shredded rubber, wood chips/mulch, and sand are all good options.  As you can imagine, avoid concrete, asphalt, grass, blacktop, packed dirt or rocks (pea gravel okay).

Check the equipment

Feeling like an inspector yet?  We promise you don’t have to climb through every tunnel or slide down every slide (unless you want to for fun).  Make a quick sweep of the equipment.  Here’s what you’re looking for: visibly loose or broken screws, uneven rungs or steps, not completely closed “S” hooks (they should look like an 8), exposed footings, or vertical or horizontal spaces between 3-9 inches (a kid’s favorite place to put their head through).

All clear?

Check that equipment is at least 6 feet from fences, swings have double its height clearance forward and back, and there aren’t any bicycles or other foreign objects in the slide’s landing area.

Supervision required

You intuitively know this, but it’s a good reminder anyway.  Kids have an uncanny way of searching out not-so-safe ways to interact with playground equipment.  You get to be the referee also: watching for pushing, kicking, tripping, biting…you get the idea.  It may seem like a WWE zone, but hang in there.

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