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Play it safe

A toddler on a swing with a woman in the background.

July 18, 2022—The warm weather is upon us. Parks and playgrounds are once again filled with people, and everyone is having a good time—that is, until someone gets hurt. Every year, more than 200,000 children are taken to emergency rooms due to an injury that happened on a playground, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Close to 80% of those injuries are caused by a fall.

These playground safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics, CPSC and the National Safety Council can help you prevent injuries—and keep the good times rolling.

Watch for hazards

Playgrounds are built with kids in mind. But it's always a good idea to take a look around for possible risks—from the ground beneath their feet to the top of the climbing structure. Beware of:

  • Concrete, asphalt or grass. Experts recommend having mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials or at least 12 inches of appropriate surface, like wood chips, mulch, sand or pea gravel.
  • Equipment with rough edges or exposed sharp points.
  • Exposed concrete footings or other things your child might trip over.
  • Glass or debris, including toys or sticks at the base of a slide.
  • Platforms without guardrails or other protective barriers that help prevent falls.
  • Swings that are less than 2 feet apart or that are within 6 feet of walls, fences or other obstacles.

Get involved

Kids love to show off their moves on the monkey bars or slide. Keeping a close eye on them as they play is a great way to bond with your child and protect them at the same time. Here's what to keep in mind:

  • Don't let kids wear necklaces, bike helmets, scarves or any clothing that has a drawstring.
  • Don't tie jump ropes, dog leashes or anything else that could get wrapped around a child's body to playground equipment.
  • Know what to do when accidents happen—whether that's coping with minor injuries or recognizing the signs of concussions in kids.
  • Make sure your child is wearing sunscreen, and plan your playground adventure to avoid peak sun exposure. That can help avoid sunburn, heat illness or burns from hot play equipment. Check out our sun safety infographic to learn more.
  • Tell children not to put their heads between any railings, bars or segments of cargo nets.

For more tips on keeping your children safe this summer, visit our Summer Safety health topic center.

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Disclaimer

This information is provided for educational purposes only. Individuals should always consult with their healthcare providers regarding medical care or treatment, as recommendations, services or resources are not a substitute for the advice or recommendation of an individual's physician or healthcare provider. Services or treatment options may not be covered under an individual's particular health plan.