Seven Playground Safety Tips for Parents and Caretakers

A group of school-age children happily plays together on a playground jungle gym

Playgrounds are great places for children of all ages to get some exercise, enjoy being outdoors, and just have fun.

These shared play spaces are also a wonderful way for children to socialize and make new friends.

Despite these benefits, playgrounds are also a common place where children can get injured.

More than 200,000 children age 14 and younger visit Emergency Departments each year as a result of playground-related injuries.

While playground injuries affect kids of all ages, children between the ages of 5 and 9 show the highest rate of falls from playground equipment.

In addition, playground injuries aren’t just scraped knees or bruises – an estimated 45% of all playground-related accidents result in more serious injuries like fractured bones, dislocations, concussions, and internal injuries.

However, risk of injury doesn’t mean that you and your children need to avoid the playground entirely!

Playground safety tips for parents and caretakers

With proper precautions, you can drastically reduce the risk of playground-related injuries and allow your children to focus on having fun.

Inspect the playground

Many common injuries can be prevented by first taking a look around the playground. If any part of the play area looks unsafe, choose somewhere else to play.

Actively supervise your children

A playground shouldn’t be a place where children are just let loose – supervision for children of all ages is key! Be sure that you (and those entrusted with your children’s care) are properly prepared to supervise and intervene should an unsafe situation or injury arise.

Check the status of the equipment

Ensuring that equipment is up-to-code and that surfaces under and around equipment are properly installed can help prevent injury.

Check the playground surfaces

Always check to ensure that playground surfaces are safe for play and adequately maintained. When possible, avoid surfaces that present possible hazards, such as gravel or concrete.

Stick to age-appropriate equipment

Most playgrounds have separate areas for younger and older kids. While your toddler may have his or her eyes on the big kids’ slide, ensure that your children use equipment based on the age and development level.

Check equipment surface temperatures

Be sure to check the temperature of the playground equipment during warm and cold weather to be sure there is no unnecessary risk to your children. Some equipment materials, like metal and even some hard plastics, are easily susceptible to changing temperatures and can pose a danger in both hot and cold weather.

Dress for safety

Children should wear appropriate shoes for safe running, jumping, and climbing. Ensure that laces or Velcro are properly secured. Children should avoid wearing hoods or shirts with drawstrings due to the risk of snags.

This blog was authored by our Trauma Program Injury Prevention Team.

Learn more about our Injury Prevention Program.