Child Injury Prevention Alliance

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Playgrounds are a great place for children to exercise and develop new skills. Unfortunately, more than 213,000 children are treated in emergency departments in the U.S. for playground-related injuries each year.


  • Remove bike helmets before playing on equipment. Helmets can cause head entrapment and strangulation when used on playgrounds.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes during play.
  • Do not wear clothing with drawstrings or jewelry around the neck.
  • Avoid trampolines, rope swings, swinging exercise rings and trapeze bars.
  • Check to make sure play equipment is appropriate for your child’s age and ability.
  • Always supervise your children on the playground.

Young children do not have the upper arm strength, hand grip size and coordination for some play equipment. The following are NOT recommended for children younger than 6 years:
  • Free-standing arch climbers
  • Seesaws
  • Parallel bars
  • Log rolls
  • Track rides
  • Sliding poles
  • Spiral slides
  • Overhead rings

Not all playgrounds are safe. Injuries can be prevented by checking the condition of the equipment and surroundings before play.
  • Do not use equipment installed over blacktop, concrete, dirt or grass. Play equipment should have sand, rubber, mulch or other safety surfacing under and around it.
    • Most injuries happen when a child falls from equipment, especially if onto a hard surface.
  • Stay away from equipment with rust, cracks, rotten areas and loose or missing parts.
  • In warm weather, play equipment can get hot enough to cause burns. Check the surface first before allowing children to play.
  • Do not allow children to add strings, ropes or pet leashes to playground equipment.
    • The most common cause of playground-related death is strangulation from clothing, strings or ropes.

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Content provided by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s



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