Traffic and play areas

To make play and traffic areas as safe as possible, follow these guidelines:

  • Frequently check heavy-use areas such as hallways and play areas for dangers.
  • Make sure there is enough space for all furniture and equipment and for traffic around them.
  • Bolt top-heavy furniture (cubbies, for example) to the wall or floor.
  • Experiment with different equipment and furnishing arrangements until you find one that best suits the needs of the children.
  • Place chairs and other furniture away from windows, cabinets, and shelves to prevent children from  climbing or reaching hazards.
  • Keep aisles free of toys, furniture, and other tripping hazards such as spilled water.
  • Break up long aisles to discourage children from running.
  • If you have indoor equipment intended to be used for climbing or sliding or anything from which a child could fall, provide an impact-absorbing surface.

Involve the children in setting rules to limit running, pushing, and other such behaviors. Enforce these rules consistently.

When Injuries Are Most Likely to Happen

Injuries are more likely when:

  • Another child becomes ill or injured and the routine is interrupted (other children become more at risk)
  • Caregivers are absent or busy
  • Children are not taking part in a planned activity and they are tired or hungry (for example, immediately before lunch)hazards are too attractive to children
  • Caregivers aren’t aware of what children’s abilities allow them to do or do not anticipate what children are likely to do
  • There are new places to explore and safety rules may be forgotten (for example, on day trips)
  • Late morning and late afternoon, especially in the spring and fall—times of day when children are more likely to be trying new skills and activities