Public playground safety isn’t any one person’s responsibility – it takes many people to keep the children in our communities. We’ve broken down playground safety into three key groups: owners and operators, parents and teachers, and the children themselves. Check out the actionable steps you can take to improve playground safety with our handy guide.
Playground Safety Tips for Playground Owners & Operators
The first part of public playground safety is providing safe equipment where children can play. Here are our tips for playground owners and operators to keep in mind.
Invest in Safe, High-Quality Playground Equipment
One of the best ways you can invest in the public safety of your playground is to work with trusted manufacturers and installers to choose age-appropriate equipment for your space. Be sure to avoid outdated materials like metal slides.
If your existing playground is getting older, it may be time for an update. But don’t worry – you don’t have to start over! Many playgrounds can benefit from a “playground facelift” with Playground Guardian’s RENEW restoration services.
Opt for Impact-Absorbing Surfacing
Inappropriate surfacing like grass or traditional wood mulch are common factors in playground injuries. While they may be more costly upfront, the impact-absorbing qualities of surfacing options like pour-in-place rubber and engineered wood fiber (EWF) outweigh the additional cost.
Not sure which surfacing option is right for you? Check out our blog on the pros and cons of each surface material.
Inspect & Maintain Your Playground Regularly
In addition to setting your playground up for success with safe equipment and surfacing, you’ll need to maintain your equipment appropriately. This means:
- Inspecting your playground regularly (utilizing a certified inspector or a software like Park Protector)
- Inspecting your playground after severe weather (and closing it until necessary repairs have been completed)
- Maintaining your playground surfacing (whether topping up loose-fill or repairing unitary surfaces)
- Testing your playground surfacing for impact absorption
- Cleaning and sanitizing your playground as needed
Taking these tasks seriously can mean the difference between a safe space for children to play and a community hazard.
Playground Safety Guidelines for Parents & Teachers
Public playground safety is not only the responsibility of playground owners and operators, but also the adults who monitor children at play. Whether you’re a parent yourself or are looking for a list of guidelines to pass out to parents or teachers at your school or in your neighborhood, here’s what you’ll need to keep in mind.
Actively Monitor Children at Play
Many playground injuries occur simply because they weren’t being supervised by a trustworthy adult. While it might be more comfortable to sit on your smartphone, keeping your eyes on the playground is key to preventing accidents and injuries. And, taking a quick look around the playground while you supervise can help to identify repair and maintenance needs in between regular inspections.
Dress Your Children for Play
Improper dress is a surprisingly common reason for injuries on the playground. Here’s our public playground safety checklist on what to avoid:
- Drawstrings and hoods
- Open-toed shoes and sandals
- Jewelry and large accessories
- Backpacks and bags
- Bibs and scarves
- Bicycle helmets (great for riding bikes but dangerous on the playground!)
While some of these clothing items may seem harmless, they can increase risks of strangulation and other injuries on the playground.
Playground Rules for Kids at Play
The final piece to public playground safety is to speak with children about safe play and regularly enforce and review playground rules. Here are our top rules for staying safe on the playground:
- Never play on the playground without an adult around.
- Use playground equipment one person at a time.
- Balls/toys/games must be played away from the playground.
- No jumping off of swings, slides, or platforms.
- No running on or around the playground.
- Keep your hands and feet to yourself.
- Have fun and try something new!