Playground safety

Home playground

  • Install a soft shock-absorbing surface around the playground. Use at least nine inches of wood chips, mulch or shredded rubber for playground equipment up to seven feet high.
  • Regularly check the play equipment and the surface and make sure they are in good condition.
  • Never attach, or let children attach, ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines or pet leashes to the play equipment.
  • Check the hardware for any hazards (such as open "S" hooks, bolt ends that stick out, or sharp edges).
  • Check for spaces that could trap a child (such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rings).
  • Make sure there are guardrails on the equipment.
  • Make sure there are no hazards near swings or slides (such as a tree or garage) that children may bump or run into.
  • Remove tripping hazards (such as exposed concrete footings, tree stumps or rocks).
  • Watch children who are playing on the equipment to make sure they are safe.

Park playground

  • Check outdoor playground equipment for loose parts and sharp edges. Make sure the swings are made of soft materials such as rubber, plastic or canvas (not wood). Put your hand on a metal slide to make sure it is cool enough for safe sliding.
  • Supervise your child while at a playground. Do not let your child play outside alone.
  • Avoid wood frame play equipment that may cause splinters.
  • Teach your child animal safety and what to do if a dog wanders into your child's play area.
  • Teach your child what to do if a stranger comes up to her. Warn your child never to go with a stranger or accept anything from a stranger. Teach your child to say "no" if she is uncomfortable. Also, talk about "good touch" and "bad touch."

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Guide for the Care of Children: Ages Birth to 5 Years Old, fifth edition. To avoid awkward sentences, instead of referring to your child as "he/she" or "him/her," this guide will alternate between "he" or "she" and "him" or "her."
Reviewed By: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts, including the Pediatric Department of Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic
First Published: 02/01/2010
Last Reviewed: 01/01/2016


Falls cause 60 percent of playground injuries.

Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission