The dirty dozen: Are they hiding in your child's playground?


11. Platforms with No Guardrails

Elevated surfaces such as platforms, ramps, and bridgeways should have guardrails that would prevent accidental falls. Preschool age children are more at risk from falls and equipment intended for this age group should have guardrails on elevated surfaces higher than twenty inches. Equipment intended far school-age children should have guardrails on elevated surfaces higher than thirty inches.

12. Equipment Not Recommended for Public Playgrounds

Accidents associated with the following types of equipment have resulted in the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommending that they not be used on public playgrounds:

  • Heavy swings such as animal figure swings and multiple occupancy/glider type swings.
  • Free swinging ropes that may fray or form a loop.
  • Swinging exercise rings and trapeze bars are considered athletic equipment and not recommended for public playgrounds. Overhead hanging rings that have a short amount of chain and are intended for use as a ring trek (generally four to eight rings) are allowed on public playground equipment.

If any of the "Dirty Dozen" playground hazards are present, you should inform the owner or operator of the unsafe conditions.


National Playground Safety Institute (NPSI)

The National Playground Safety Institute (NPSI) is sponsored by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). NPSI's mission is to promote children's rights to play in a safe environment and to nationally promote the importance of play in their development. The NPSI promotes the latest public playground industry standards and guidelines as the most desirable standard of care for public-use playgrounds. For a listing of playground related publications available through NRPA contact:

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