Playground Equipment Safety

Safety and Maintenance Tips for Your New Playset:

1)  It is recommended that on site adult supervision for children of all ages be present while playground equipment is in use.

2)  Please refrain children from walking close to, in front of, behind or between moving play features.

 3)  Refrain children from twisting swing chains or ropes since this may reduce the strength of these items.  

4)  Warn children to avoid swinging empty swing seats or gliders. 

5)  Teach children to sit in center of swings with their full weight on the swing seats. 

6)  Teach children to use the playground equipment in the intended manner.  

7)  Teach children not to get off play equipment while still in motion.  

8)  Parents should make sure children are dressed appropriately. For example; wear well fitting clothing, shoes, avoid ponchos, and scarves or any loose fitting clothing, which is potentially hazardous while using the playground equipment.  

9)  Refrain children from climbing on playground equipment when wet.  

10) Check all nuts and bolts twice monthly during the usage season for tightness. Tighten as required. It is particularly important to check & tighten bolts at the beginning of each season.  

11) Check swings, chains, and slides for cracks or deterioration. Replacement should be made at first sign of deterioration.


Playgrounds should be inspected on a regular basis. If any of the following conditions are noted, they should be removed, corrected or repaired immediately to prevent injuries: 

  1. Hardware that is loose or worn, or that has protrusions or projections.
  2. Exposed equipment footings.
  3. Scattered debris, litter, rocks, or tree roots.
  4. Rust and chipped paint on metal components.
  5. Splinters, large cracks, and decayed wood components.
  6. Deterioration and corrosion on structural components, which contact the ground.
  7. Missing or damaged equipment components, such as hand holds, guardrails, swing seats.


Playset Surfacing Recommendations:

These are some of the recommendations that The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers from its Handbook for Public Playground Safety.

Protective Surfacing:

Since almost 60% of all injuries are caused by falls to the ground, protective surfacing under and around all playground equipment is the most critical safety factor on playgrounds. Certain manufactured synthetic surfaces also are acceptable; however, test data on shock absorbing performance should be requested from the manufacturer. Asphalt and concrete are unacceptable. They do not have any shock absorbing properties. Similarly, grass and turf should not be used. Their ability to absorb shock during a fall can be reduced considerably through wear and environmental conditions.


Certain loose-fill surfacing materials are acceptable, such as the types and depths shown in the table: 

Type of material

6” Depth

9” Depth

12” Depth

Double shredded bark mulch




Wood chips




Fine sand




Fine gravel




Fall Zones:

A fall zone, covered with a protective surfacing materials, is essential under and around equipment where a child might fall. This area should be free of other equipment and obstacles onto which a child might fall. Stationary climbing equipment and slides should have a fall zone extending a minimum of 6' in all directions from the perimeter of the equipment. Swings should have a fall zone extending a minimum of 6' from the outer edge of the support structure on each side. The fall zone in front and back of the swing should extend out a minimum distance of twice the height of the swing as measured from the ground to the top of the swing support structure.