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Playground Safety

Playground falls and other injuries are a common cause of children needing treatment at the hospital emergency department. Injuries often occur when your child has learned a new developmental skill (climbing stairs, balancing, etc.).

It is extremely important to be aware of your child's growth stages and abilities when you decide which equipment is appropriate for them to play on in the playground.

Remember to always actively supervise your children at the playground.

Choosing a Playground

Before you choose a playground:

  • Do a safety-check before children play and report damaged playground equipment to your local parks and recreation or school office
  • Choose playgrounds with a deep, soft surface such as sand, pea gravel, mulch, or rubber chips. You should be able to dig your heel into the ground to a depth of 15 cm (6 inches)
  • Use equipment designed for your child’s age. Playgrounds are designed for two age groups: for children less than five years old, and for those five to 12 years old
  • Check the surface for sharp objects, garbage and animal waste
  • Make sure the handrails and railings are secure and free from splinters
  • Check that the openings in the equipment are less than 9 cm (3.5 inches) or greater than 22.5 cm (9 inches) to prevent a child’s head from getting stuck

Playground Safety Rules for Children

Make sure your children know these rules:

  • Wait and take turns
  • Walk away from bullying and unsafe situations
  • Slide down feet first and walk up the steps or ladders (instead of running up the slide)
  • Never push
  • Wear shoes with rubber soles and laces tied
  • Take your helmet off before you play on the equipment
  • Tell an adult if the equipment is broken

Playground Safety Rules for Adults

Keep this in mind when with your children at the playground:

  • Actively supervise your children at the playground
  • Stand next to children when they are learning a new skill or climbing
  • To reduce a child’s chance of choking on the play equipment, avoid dressing children in clothes with drawstrings or scarves
  • Remove bike helmets before playing on the equipment
  • Do not take skipping ropes into the playground area
  • Most public playgrounds have been updated to meet new safety standards, however private or backyard play equipment may not meet these standards. Trampolines can cause serious injuries
  • Do not use playground equipment in the winter. The ground is frozen and it becomes a more dangerous surface on which to fall. Mitts and boots make it more difficult for children to use the equipment safely


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