Ten steps toward a safer playground


[ ] Openings that can trap - Openings in guardrails, and spaces between platforms and between ladder rungs, should measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches. Children can get trapped and strangle in openings where they can fit their bodies but not their heads through the space.

[ ] Pinch, Crush, Shearing, and Sharp Hazards - Equipment should not have sharp points or edges that could cut skin. Moving pieces of equipment, such as suspension bridges, track rides, merry-go-rounds or, seesaws, should not have accessible moving parts that might crush or pinch a child's finger.

[ ] Tripping Hazards - There should be no exposed concrete footings, abrupt changes in surface elevations, tree roots, tree stumps, and rocks, which can trip children or adults.

[ ] Guardrails - Elevated surfaces--such as platforms, ramps, and bridgeways--should have guardrails to prevent falls.

[ ] Routine Maintenance - Find out if your playground has a designated official who periodically inspects the play equipment for preventive maintenance. This includes: replacing missing, broken, or worn-out components; securing hardware; checking for deterioration in the wood, metal, or plastic materials; maintaining the proper 12-inch depth of surfacing material; and cleaning up debris.

[ ] Supervision - The play area should be designed so that adults can observe children at play.

For more detailed information, school or park officials can order CPSC's Handbook for Public Playground Safety" and parents can order CPSC's "Fact Sheet: Tips for Public Playground Safety."

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