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Playgrounds and outdoor play equipment offer kids fresh air, friends, and exercise. So it's important for parents to make sure that faulty equipment, improper surfaces, and careless behavior don't ruin the fun.
You can make the playground entertaining and safe for your kids by checking equipment for potential hazards and teaching children how to play safely, if they know the rules of the playground, they're less likely to get hurt.

Adult Supervision

Adult supervision can help prevent injuries by making sure kids properly use playground equipment and don't engage in unsafe behavior around it. If an injury does occur, an adult can assist the child and administer any needed first aid right away.

Kids should always have adult supervision on the playground. Young kids (and sometimes older ones) can't always gauge distances properly and aren't capable of foreseeing dangerous situations by themselves. Older kids like to test their limits on the playground, so it's important for an adult to be there to keep an eye on them.

Before you visit a playground, check to make sure that play areas are designed to allow an adult to clearly see kids while they're playing on all the equipment.


A proper playground surface is one of the most important factors in reducing injuries that occur when kids fall from play structures. The surface under the playground equipment should be soft enough to soften the impact of a child's fall.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Concrete and asphalt are unsafe and unacceptable. Grass, soil can be used for residential climbing frames, swings...

  • The playground surface should be free of standing water and debris that could cause kids to trip and fall.

  • The surfaces may be loosely filled with materials like wood chips, mulch, sand, fine gravel, or shredded rubber.

  • Surfacing mats made of rubber or rubber-like materials are also safe.

  • Loose-fill surface materials 12 inches deep should be used for equipment up to 8 feet high. The material should not be packed down because this will reduce any cushioning effect.

  • The cushioned surface should extend at least 6 feet past the equipment. Additional coverage may be needed, depending on how high a slide is or how long a swing is.

  • If there is loose-fill over a hard surface (like asphalt or concrete), there should be 3-6 inches of loose-fill like gravel, a layer of geotextile cloth, a layer of loose-fill surfacing material, and then impact mats under the playground equipment.


Keep in mind that even proper surfacing can't prevent all injuries.


Whether your kids play on a home or public playground, it's important for you to take a general look at the equipment to make sure that it is clean and well maintained.

  • There should be no broken equipment.

  • Metal equipment should not be rusted.

  • Surface materials on the playground should be maintained regularly so that the surfacing is loosely packed and covers all appropriate areas — especially the fall zones surrounding play equipment.

  • Playground equipment should be made of durable materials that won't fall apart or worn down too much by the weather.

Check for objects (like hardware, hooks, bolts) that stick out on equipment and could cut a child or cause clothing to become entangled.

All hardware on equipment should be secure, with no loose or broken parts. Plastic and wood should show no signs of weakening, and there should not be any splintered or rusted surfaces.

If the local playground has a sandbox, check for hazardous debris such as sharp sticks or broken glass. Sandboxes should be covered overnight to prevent contamination from animals, such as cats.

Help keep your playground clean and safe by picking up trash and using the equipment properly.


If a part seems broken, loose, or in need of other maintenance, stop using play structure immediately and report the problem to the appropriate authorities.

Safe Play

Safe playground equipment and adult supervision are extremely important, but children themselves must know how to be safe and act responsibly at the playground.

Teach your kids to:

  • Never push or roughhouse while on monkey bars, slides, seesaws, swings, and other equipment.

  • Use equipment properly — slide feet first, don't climb outside guardrails, no standing on swings...

  • Always check to make sure no other kids are in the way if they're going to jump off equipment.

  • Leave bikes, and bags away from the equipment and the play area so that no one trips over them.

  • Never use playground equipment that's wet because moisture makes the surfaces slippery.

  • Wear clothes that do not have drawstrings or cords. Drawstrings, purses, and necklaces could get caught on equipment and accidentally strangle a child.

Swing Safety

Swings are the most frequent source of childhood injuries from moving equipment on a playground. But a few simple precautions can help keep kids safely swinging in the breeze:

  • Swings should be made of soft material such as rubber or plastic.

  • Kids should always sit in the swing, not stand not stand on them. They should hold on tightly with both hands while swinging, and when finished swinging, stop the swing completely before getting off.

  • Children should stay a safe distance from other kids on swings, not to run or walk in front of or in back of moving swings.

  • Kids should never ride with more than one child to a swing. Swings are designed to safely hold only one person, except where duo swings are installed.

Be happy and play safe with play equipment from

Green Tree Play

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