Playground Safety

Most Common Injuries

Each year, thousands of children are injured on playgrounds. Statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reveal that these injuries cost the U.S. $9.8 billion in 1999.

The most common injuries that occur on playgrounds are (in order):

  • Injury from swing
  • Injury from climbing equipment
  • Injury from slides
  • Injury from see-saws and teeter-totters

Tips for playground safety

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons makes the following recommendations regarding playground and play area safety:

  1. Bars and handrails should be easy to grasp. All stairways should have rail heights appropriate for small children.
  2. Make sure the see-saws are not overly steep.
  3. Are all stairs and steps evenly spaced and smooth?
  4. Platforms and raised areas need barriers — 4 feet for older kids and 30 inches for preschoolers.
  5. Playground surface should be soft — no asphalt or concrete areas.
  6. Check for gaps between the platform and the top of the slide chute.
  7. Hangers at top of swings should be more than 20 inches apart. Swings should be 2 feet apart and 30 inches from the support structure. No more than 2 swing should be placed adjacently in the same section.
  8. Slides over 4 feet tall should be 7 to 15 inches off the ground and should not have an incline greater than 30 degrees. Edges of the slide exit should be smooth.
  9. Overhead rungs need to be less than 12 inches apart for preschoolers and less than 15 inches apart for older kids. Make sure the rungs are fastened tightly.
  10. Make sure kids have adult supervision at all times.
  11. Be aware of the differences in size among children playing together.