SWING, SLIDE, HAVE FUN, PLAY SAFE! Playgrounds Shouldn’t Hurt

ZGirl with hurt knee

Seesaws, swings and slides! Now that springtime is here, playground season is in full swing. CPSC believes playgrounds should be safe! Far too often however, fun and games at the community playground or on the backyard play set can lead to injuries—and even death.

A new playground equipment report (pdf) was just issued by CPSC and it found that from 2009 to 2014, 19 of the 34 fatal playground incidents that we investigated were the result of hanging or asphyxiation. During that same time period, nearly 1.5 million injuries associated with playground equipment were treated nationally in emergency departments. Annually, that breaks down to about 243,000 ER treated injuries.

Playground Safety NSN Poster 2017


The report also finds:

  • The two most common hazard patterns are falls and dangers posed by the equipment, which together account for 81 percent of the reported incidents.
  • The most common diagnoses are fractures and contusions/abrasions.
  • Monkey bars and swings account for the majority of the total injuries, although slides account for one-fifth of the injuries.
  • More than half of the victims seen in ER’s were between ages five and nine.

As we observe National Playground Safety Week, we want to encourage everyone to follow some golden playground safety rules:

  • Always supervise kids and make sure kids use playground equipment appropriate for their age.
  • Never attach ropes, jump ropes, pet leashes or strings to playground equipment; children can strangle on these.
  • Make sure children’s clothing does not have any drawstrings as they can catch on slides and other equipment.
  • Make sure surfaces around playgrounds have 9-12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel, or mats made of safety-tested rubber.
  • Check that protective surfacing extends 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.Look out for tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.
  • Don’t let kids play on slides/surfaces that are burning hot. The weather does not have be 1000 in order for equipment to heat up and cause burns. If it feels hot to your hand, it may be too hot for a child’s bare skin!

If you believe your child’s playground is not safe, report your concerns to the appropriate owner, park district or school. Kids just want to have fun and they should. CPSC wants to make sure they do it safely.

Playgrounds shouldn’t hurt.

For more information about playground safety (pdf) visit our website at CPSC.gov.

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