September is a great time to think about the safety of your playgrounds. Here are some statistics regarding playground safety from Brainline:

  • Over 200,000 children visit emergency rooms each year due to playground-related injuries
  • 15 child fatalities occur each year from playground equipment
  • 79% of ALL playground injuries involve falls. Falls also account for 90% of the most SEVERE playground injuries
  • 58% of all playground fatalities are due to strangulation
  • 76% of all injuries take place on public playgrounds

How well are you maintaining your playground equipment? Every program should have a playground safety checklist and inspect the playground on a regular basis.

Here are some playground safety elements to consider:

  • Playground equipment is designed for different age groups and should be used accordingly
  • Equipment under four feet tall is suitable for children under 5, equipment under eight feet tall is suitable for those ages 5-12
  • To better absorb shocks from falls, make sure 12 inches of loose-fill such as wood chips, pea gravel, shredded tires, double shredded bark mulch, fine gravel or sand completely covers the playground floor
  • Make sure any “S” hooks that are used are closed as much as possible and that anything a child may become caught on is removed to eliminate the threat of strangulation
  • A bar should be present at the top of a slide so children will have to sit before going down
  • Make sure guardrails surround elevated platforms
  • Maintain playground equipment
  • Hoods or drawstrings can get caught on equipment. Remove them before children are allowed to play
  • Make sure all children are always in your line of sight. You should be able to see them regardless of where you are observing

Not sure if your playground is safe?  We can help with our Certified Playground Safety Inspection.  This thorough inspection is completed by an NRPA certified inspector. Upon completion, you will receive a full report of hazards identified as well as guidance on how to fix them. In addition, completing the inspection will give you 2 points in Colorado Shines for indicator 5.4. To schedule your inspection please contact us at info@healthychildcareco.org.

By: Becky Edwards