Each year, more than 200,000 children will visit a hospital emergency room because of playground injuries. Most accidents occur when a child falls from the equipment onto dirt or grass — surfaces that do not adequately protect children.
To help make sure your home playground is a safe place for children, review the safety checklist.
Home Playground Safety Checklist
- Install and maintain a shock-absorbing surface around the play equipment. Use at least 9 inches of wood chips, mulch or shredded rubber for play equipment up to 7 feet high. If sand or pea gravel is used, install at least a 9-inch layer of the material for play equipment up to 5 feet high.
- Install protective surfacing at least 6 feet in all directions from play equipment. For swings, be sure surfacing extends in back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar.
- Never attach or allow children to attach ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines or pet leashes to play equipment. Children can strangle on these.
- Check for hardware, like open “S” hooks or protruding bolt ends, which can be hazardous. Sharp points or edges in equipment also can be dangerous to children.
- Check for spaces that could trap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs; these spaces should measure less than 3.5 inches. Make sure platforms and ramps have guardrails to prevent falls.
- Remove tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps and rocks.
- Regularly check play equipment and surfaces to make sure both are in good condition.
- Carefully supervise children on play equipment to make sure they are safe.