Playground safety

Playgrounds provide a wide range of opportunities for children’s development, including motor development, decision making, social development, and learning opportunities enhanced by seeing the world from new perspectives.  While it is important for children to take risks and experiment, they can also get hurt.

Increase child safety by following these simple steps:

  • Each day, before children go to the playground, check the play area and the equipment for dangers.
  • Teach children the basic playground safety rules.
  • Make sure children use equipment as it is intended to be used.  Misusing equipment is the source of many injuries.
  • Supervise children closely at all times.  Things to watch for:
    • swinging too high
    • running close to moving swings
    • playing with equipment that is too advanced for the child
    • using equipment in a way that poses a risk of injury.  For example, climbing up the sliding board instead of the steps to the slide is a hazard since another child may decide to slide down the slide while the child is climbing and falls from climbing the sliding bed are more likely than from the stairs.

Special Advice for Group Care Settings

Assign extra staff to supervise particularly dangerous areas of the playground, such as swings and monkey bars.

Put in place risk management policies for playgrounds.

These include plans for:

  • supervision
  • inspection and maintenance of the playground
  • reporting playground injuries
  • reporting playground maintenance/repair problems

Planning or Choosing a Playground

  • Select equipment that matches the age of children who will use it.
  • Choose equipment that takes into account the range of developmental differences in children of the same age.
  • Provide a variety of types and sizes of equipment.

Select equipment that is accessible to a broad range of children.  Children with special needs may require equipment that is more easily accessible than others.

Download the outdoor safety poster