CPSC and KaBOOM! are teaming up to reduce playground hazards by providing parents with safety information. Parents are encouraged to install and maintain protective surfacing, eliminate unsafe ropes and check for potentially hazardous hooks and edges on swings and slides on home playgrounds.
CPSC's study found that only 9 percent of home playgrounds had protective, shock-absorbing surfacing. Dirt and grass, which are the most prevalent surfaces under home playground equipment, do not adequately protect children from serious head injuries.
To help prevent injuries from falls and other hazards on home playgrounds, the following safety tips are recommended:
- Install and maintain at least 9 inches of wood chips, mulch, or shredded rubber for play equipment up to 7 feet high. If sand or pea gravel is used, install at least a 9-inch layer for play equipment up to 5 feet high. Or, use surfacing mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials.
- Install protective surfacing at least six feet in all directions from play equipment. For swings, the surface should extend, in back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar.
- Never attach ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines, or pet leashes to the equipment. This can present a serious strangulation hazard to children.
- Smooth sharp points or edges, and cover open "S" hooks or protruding bolts.
- Check for openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs. Spaces should be either less than 3 1/2 inches or more than 9 inches so that they don't present an entrapment hazard.
- Always supervise young children to make sure they are safe.