Safety matters when kids are on the playground

Ways adults can keep kids safe on the playground

Adult supervision

  • Always supervise children using playground equipment. Adults should stay close where they can see and hear their child.
  • Prevent unsafe behaviors like pushing, shoving, crowding and inappropriate use of equipment.
  • Ensure that children use age-appropriate playground equipment.
  • Remove hood and neck drawstrings from all children’s outerwear. Never allow children to wear helmets, necklaces, purses, scarves or clothing with drawstrings while on playgrounds.

Safe surfacing surrounding all playground equipment

  • Ensure there is safe surfacing beneath and surrounding all playground equipment to minimize risks of falling.
  • Use playgrounds that have loose-fill surfacing materials such as shredded rubber, hardwood fiber mulch or chips and fine sand. Rubber mats, synthetic turf and other artificial, shock absorbing materials are also safer for children.
  • Avoid playgrounds with asphalt, concrete, grass and soil surfaces surfacing. They are not good at preventing injuries.
  • Surfacing should beat least 12 inches deep and extend at least 6 feet in all directions around stationary equipment. Depending on the height of the equipment, surfacing may need to extend farther than 6 feet.

Playground inspection and maintenance by qualified personnel

  • Ensure all playgrounds are inspected and maintained by qualified personnel
  • Daily, monthly and annual maintenance schedules should be followed.
  • Maintain separate play areas for children under age 5.
  • Ensure that schools and childcare centers have age-appropriate, well-maintained playground equipment and that trained supervisors are present at all times when children are on the playground.
  • Report any playground safety hazards to the organization responsible for the site (e.g., school, park authority, city council).

Safe Kids USA resources

Website resources