Playground Safety

Playground Safety

Playground Safety

Definition: Playgrounds and outdoor play equipment can be found in backyards, schools, day care centers, local parks, community recreation centers, and more. They enable children and youth to exercise and play. However, they can also present an injury hazard if they are not constructed safely or maintained properly and if children are allowed to play on them unsupervised.

Magnitude of the Problem: According to Safe Kids,

  • It is estimated that close to 220,000 children 14 or under went to the ER for injuries associated with playground equipment in 2009.
  • 57% of estimated playground-related injuries treated in ERs occurred at either schools or parks.
  • Falls account for over 75% of all playground-related injuries.
  • CPSC investigated 40 deaths between 2001 and 2008. Of these, 68% were the result of hanging/asphyxiation. 7% were caused by neck/head injuries. The rest were due to other causes.

Prevention: Parents, care givers, child care providers, and teachers should supervise children on playgrounds at all times. Regulations mandating how playgrounds are constructed (e.g. installing protective surface materials) can help to make these areas safer for children and reduce injuries. Currently, 15 states have passed laws mandating that U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission safety guidelines and warnings on playground surfaces and age-appropriate equipment be followed. Regular inspections and maintenance of playground equipment are essential to keeping kids safe.

Play it Safe: Playground Safety for Everyone

Playgrounds serve as a central hub for communities, yet playground-related injuries remain a concern among parents, educators and health care providers. More than 200,000 playground-related injuries are treated in the U.S. emergency departments annually among children 18 years and younger.1 The leading causes of playground injuries are falls, impact/strike, cut/pinch/crush, entrapment/entanglement, and trip/slip. Playground-related injuries commonly treated in the emergency department are fractures, contusions/abrasions, and lacerations.

CSN Webinar
May 26 2020

Traumatic Brain Injury among Children and Youth: Understanding TBI and One Model State Program

Reports of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) among adults, particularly in professional sports, are often in the news. But what about TBIs among children and youth? In 2012, an estimated 329,290 children (age 19 or younger) were treated in emergency departments (EDs) for sports and recreation-related injuries that included a diagnosis of concussion or TBI. From 2001 to 2012, the rate of ED visits for sports and recreation-related injuries with a diagnosis of concussion or TBI, alone or in combination with other injuries, more than doubled among children (age 19 or younger).

CSN Webinar
Feb 21 2019

Change Packages and Outcome Measure Worksheets

Change Packages

The Change Packages list the evidence-based and evidence-informed strategies that will lead to breakthrough improvement in five topic areas of child safety.

The Change Packages include the Child Safety CoIIN aim statements, goals, drivers, change ideas, and measures. They were developed by the Children’s Safety Network (CSN) with input from the Steering Committee of the National Coordinated Child Safety Initiative and the states and jurisdictions that participated in Cohort 1.

Resource Type: 
CSN Publications

Evidence-Based Strategies and Readings in Five Injury Topics

This publication lists evidence-based strategies and readings on child passenger safety, falls prevention, interpersonal violence prevention, suicide and self-harm prevention, and teen driver safety.

Resource Type: 
CSN Publications

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission - Playground Safety Publications

The U.S. Consumer Project Safety Commission works to keep consumers safe from hazardous products that cause injuries or death. This webpage provides access to publications on playground safety.

Resource Type: 
Useful Publications


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