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Home Playground Safety Tips

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Never attach or allow children to attach ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines or pet leashes to play equipment. Children can strangle on these.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Remove tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps and rocks.
  7. Regularly check play equipment and surfaces to make sure both are in good condition.
  8. Carefully supervise children on play equipment to make sure they are safe.
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