It’s Playground Safety Week – time to check those playgrounds!


Every year, about 200,000 kids are injured seriously enough in public playgrounds that they require emergency room treatments. As seasonal warm weather starts to settle in and kids head to public parks and play spaces, National Playground Safety Week offers a good reminder to parents. Don’t take it for granted that the public or commercial play equipment that your kids like so much are safe – make it your business to check out these spaces for yourself.  Don’t hesitate to call your Parks & Recreation department to ask about safety.

The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) offers a helpful checklist of things that you should look for in playgrounds. For other excellent guides, see KidsHealth and the
National Safety Council.

We’ve compiled just a few these tips:

Provide supervision.  Adults should be on hand to watch for hazards and respond to any emergencies.

Ensure age-appropriate outdoor play. Make sure your kids are not using equipment that is above their age or safety level. See the NPPS guide for age appropriate design.

Be alert for clothing hazards. Be careful about strings on your kids’ clothing or on equipment. Strings can get caught causing strangulation.Remove strings, scarves, necklaces, and jewelry. Kids should also wear appropriate footwear. And here’s one important point: some parents might think a bike helmet would offer good playgroup protection – wrong! Playgrounds and helmets don’t mix. Helmets can snag on equipment or tree branches and cause asphyxiation.

Prevent burns. In addition to being careful that your kids are not out in the sun too long and have sunscreen to prevent burns, be sure to check the temperature of equipment surfaces. On a hot day, some equipment could be hot enough to cause burns. See Tips for limitings sun exposure.

Be alert for heavy molded plastic animal swings.  Those animal swings might look fun to you and your kids, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled these a number of years ago because the weight and frame can cause serious injuries if they strike kids. CPSC offers a 61 page Public Playground Safety Handbook that offers more safety information.

If you are planning for equipment at homes, see the NPPS backyard playground video series for tips.  And if you do have a backyard playground, make sure that you check with your insurance agent to be sure you have adequate liability insurance.

It’s National Playground Safety Week


We’re all for any reason to keep kids safe so we’re more than happy to inform you that this week is National Playground Safety Week. Safe Kids USA asks “do you know what to look for to make sure your playground is safe? Sometimes the risks don’t appear as obvious as those associated with swimming or biking; but, they’re there and easy to spot. You just need to know what to look for.”
And the risks are all too real – not just at public playgrounds but at home and school playgrounds too. Consider these sobering stats:

  • The leading cause of death related to the playground and playground equipment is strangulation, accounting for over 50% of the deaths.
  • Nearly 70% of all playground related deaths occur on home playgrounds.
  • Falls are the most common mode of playground injury accounting for approximately 80% of all playground-related injuries and about 20% of all deaths.
  • About 45% of playground-related injuries are severe, which include fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations, and amputations.
  • More from the Playground Safety Fact Sheet

If you are a parent or if you have kids in your life, these stats should put you on alert! It’s important for parents to advocate for their kids to ensure safe public playgrounds. It’s also important for parents who are homeowners to ensure that any private play areas meet the best and safest standards, too. Don’t forget about the pools!
Here are Top Playground Safety Tips from Safe Kids:

  • Playground surfacing material should be 12 inches deep and extend 6 feet in all directions around equipment.
  • Look for playgrounds with shredded rubber, mulch, wood chips or sand. Grass and soil are not good surfaces.
  • Make sure playground equipment is inspected frequently and kept in good repair. If it’s not, report this to your local parks and recreations office.
  • Remove hood and neck drawstrings from children’s clothing and outerwear and don’t let kids wear helmets, necklaces, purses or scarves on the playground.
  • Don’t allow your kids to engage in, or play near, any pushing, shoving or crowding around playground equipment.
  • Keep toddlers under age 5 in a separate play area, away from equipment designed for bigger kids.
  • Actively supervise kids on a playground. Just being in the same area isn’t good enough – they need your undivided attention while playing on or around the equipment.

Safe Kids has a variety of other useful tools to help you know what to look for in assessing playground safety. Here are a few good resources:
Tips for parents in assessing the safety of a playground
Sports Injury Prevention Tips
State laws on concussion prevention (PDF)
Concussion Guide for Parents (PDF)
Sports Safety Checklist (PDF)
Dehydration & heat illness prevention