Over 600,000 Playground Injuries in 2012

In 2012, more than 600,000 children were injured at playgrounds, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. This included about 210,000 children hurt on monkey bars or other climbing structures, more than 151,000 injured on swing sets, more than 125,000 injured on slides, more than 10,000 hurt on seesaws or teeterboards and 56,000 injured on other playground equipment.
The warm summer months in Illinois open doors to numerous activities that are not normally available during the colder months of the year. With children out of school for summer break, the playground becomes a go to spot for families and children looking to enjoy the sunshine and all the activities the playground has to offer.
The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) devised a Summer Safety Checklist to ensure a fun, but safe summer at the playground:

  1. Adult Supervision is Present – the presence of an adult is a must, as they can watch, observe and facilitate children playing. In addition, the can watch for hazards and intercede when necessary.
  2. All Children Play on Age-Appropriate Equipment – different ages means different levels of ability. This means that children should be on equipment that they can play safely on, equipment that is tailored to their abilities.
  3. Appropriate Fall Surfacing Material is Present – according to the NPPS, around 70% of all playground injuries are related to children falling to the ground. The acceptable fall surfaces are wood fiber, mulch, pea gravel, sand, poured-in-place rubber, rubber mats, and rubber tiles. Playground surfaces should not be asphalt, grass, blacktop, concrete, packed dirt, or rocks.
  4. Equipment is Safe – equipment should be anchored in the ground and in good working order. Any S-hooks should be fully close and footings should not be exposed. The playground equipment should be free of rust, splinters, missing parts and bolts should not be protruding.
  5. No Strings or Ropes are Present – strangulation can be caused by strings on clothing or ropes used in play. Ropes used as a part of playground equipment should be secured on both ends.
  6. Equipment is not too Hot – the surface of playground equipment can become very hot to the point where it causes burns on the skin. Always check surfaces before playing on them.
  7. No Bicycle Helmets are Worn on the Equipment – bicycle helmets can easily get caught while children are playing on equipment and may cause accidental strangulation.
  8. Children Wear Appropriate Clothing – closed shoes and appropriate clothing are essentials when at the playground.
  9. Children are Protected from the Sun – UVA and UVB protective clothing and sunglasses, sunscreen, or sunblock are important to staying safe while in the sun.
  10. Children are protected from extreme temperatures – heat indexes at or above 90 degrees can pose a health risk to children. Watch for symptoms of heat exhaustion in children and make sure they stay well hydrated.

For more information on playground safety visit: http://playgroundsafety.org
According to the National Program for Playground Safety, the licensing standards for child care centers require that protective surfacing be in compliance with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Illinois’ licensing standards also cover other components that are not mandated in compliance with CPSC, but have similar requirements. Illinois laws such as a six-foot tall fall zone around all equipment except for swings and a fall zone extending both forward and backward a distance of at least 2x the height measured from the supporting swing bar are in place to prevent entrapment hazards. For more information on CPSC standards for both public playground equipment and home playground equipment please visit:
Public Playground Safety Handbook: http://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/122149/325.pdf
Outdoor Home Playground Safety Handbook: http://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/122146/324.pdf
Remember to stay safe this summer while you enjoy the fun times and activities these months have to offer!