Play area falls

Problem: Injuries from falls


  • Place each piece of play equipment at least 2.4 meters (8 feet) from any other piece of play equipment.
  • Make sure the following are at least 1.8 meters (6 feet) from play equipment:
    • vehicles
    • fences
    • walkways
    • trees
    • large rocks
  • Cover the surface underneath play equipment with impact-absorbing material:
    • Use sand, wood chips or other particulate material intended to be used to cushion surfaces under climbing equipment. The particulate material should be at least 30 centimeters (1 foot) deep. You can also use manufactured impact absorbing materials that meet the tests for the maximum height to which a child could climb on the equipment over it.
    • The impact absorbing surface should extend out at least 1.8 (6 feet) meters from the edge of equipment and cover all the footings that anchor the equipment.
  • Remove or barricade any high play equipment such as slides or climbing bars that do not have impact-absorbing material beneath them.

Maintaining impact-absorbing surfaces:

  • Regularly rake the particulate material to keep it evenly distributed and to remove any debris that gets into it.
  • When temperatures go below freezing, sand is no longer a cushioning surface and climbing equipment over it should not be used.
  • Regularly replenish particulate materials used for cushioning under climbing equipment. Wood chips deteriorate into dirt over a period of 9 months or so in most climates. The deteriorated material must be removed and replaced with a full depth of particulate material, or the full depth of particulate material placed over the top of the old to form a higher, new cushioning surface.

Other play equipment safety concerns:

  • All equipment should be anchored securely with concrete footing – the footings should be below ground and not exposed.
  • All moving parts should be oiled and work smoothly.