Playground Safety: Ensuring a Safe and Enjoyable Play Experience

The Importance of a Safe Playground

A safe playground is a great place for children to get the benefits of outdoor play. However, each year more than 200,000 children in the United States visit hospital emergency rooms due to injuries from playground equipment.

Focused supervision by adults can help prevent many of these injuries. Age-appropriate equipment and proper maintenance are also key safety factors. 안전놀이터

Safety Surfaces

The number one safety feature a playground needs is a soft surface that will cushion a fall. Falls are the leading cause of playground injuries and can range from minor to severe, even resulting in traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Safe playground surfacing is designed to absorb impact. It’s also important to choose a material that’s durable and can withstand the elements.

Trash, twigs and other debris that can get caught in equipment can result in painful injuries for children. Additionally, the surfaces underneath equipment should be free of gaps or rough edges where a child might slip and lose their balance.

Loose wood mulch is a popular quality surfacing option on a budget. However, it requires ongoing raking and topping off to keep up with safety standards for critical fall heights. Bonded rubber mulch and recycled tire surfacing are more cost effective options, but require some ongoing maintenance as well. Burke Turf, on the other hand, offers a unitary surface with excellent shock absorption and low maintenance costs.


A playground is a promising setting where children can learn, grow and explore, but it can also be dangerous if not designed with safety in mind. Fortunately, a few simple guidelines and careful maintenance can help prevent common hazards.

To prevent injury, it’s important that playground surfacing be properly placed beneath and around equipment. The surfacing should be impact attenuating (soft) and meet CPSC, ASTM and IPEMA standards. Avoid hard surfaces like asphalt, concrete or grass that lack shock absorbing qualities.

Children can also get caught in or on equipment if there are protrusions such as pipes, wood ends and long bolts that stick out from equipment. This type of entanglement is best prevented by having adequate distances between objects to allow adults to reach over or into them for supervision.

Ideally, crawl spaces in play equipment such as tubes should have openings of less than three and one-half inches in diameter to avoid entrapment (1,2).

Shade Structures

Many kids love to play outside on a playground, but they might need a break from the sun. One blistering sunburn can increase the risk of skin cancer later in life.

Shade structures can block up to 96% of harmful UV rays and keep the playground up to 20 degrees cooler year-round, encouraging more outdoor play. Plus, shade can help accommodate children who cannot use a playground without it due to conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism, and epilepsy or medications that might make them more susceptible to overheating or sun poisoning.

Shade structures come in a range of sizes and styles, including single-post pyramid shades that offer ample coverage with only one post or full cantilever structures that provide more space beneath the canopy with just two posts. You can also choose from a variety of fabric qualities that allow light to pass through but prevent precipitation. The right shade can give your playground a unique look that will draw park guests and keep them coming back.

Safety Signage

Each year, 200,000 children visit emergency departments for playground-related injuries. While most of these injuries are minor, head and spinal injuries can be serious and even fatal.

Playground safety signs help people of all ages stay within their physical abilities and avoid equipment that’s inappropriate for their age. For example, a “Tot Seat” sign advises parents and caregivers that these types of equipment are intended for children under 4 years old. Signs that include age-appropriate information and a warning or recommendation for supervision can prevent a significant number of injuries.

Other important safety signage alerts people of entanglement risks from loose clothing or accessories like drawstrings, purses, helmets and pet leashes. It also warns people of hot play surfaces that can cause contact burns. Surfacing warnings are also important as they remind people of the importance of properly installing and maintaining safe surfacing around playground equipment. These warnings comply with CPSC guidelines and ASTM F1487 standards.

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