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Playground Safety

Equipment and Clothing Safety

Playgrounds are fun places for young children. Each year, many children in Alberta are badly hurt from falls from playground equipment.

How can I help keep my child safe on a playground?

To help keep your child safe on a playground:

  • always be within an arms reach of your child while he or she is climbing
  • make sure your child is actively supervised by a responsible adult. Actively supervised means you are close enough to take action, paying close attention, and watching for hazards when your child is playing or exploring. You need to be close so you can take action if needed. Supervise your child the whole time on the playground.
  • choose a playground with a safe surface (e.g., sand, pea gravel, wood mulch, rubber) under the equipment. Grass and dirt are NOT safe playground surfaces.
  • keep your child under 5 off equipment that is higher than 1.5 metres (5 feet)
  • make sure your child uses equipment that is right for his or her age and stage of development. If your child can’t reach equipment without help, don’t let him or her play on it.
  • don’t let your child go on any equipment that is broken or damaged
  • take the Playground Safety YES Test​

Did you know?

  • A child can be strangled if a hood or drawstrings get caught on playground equipment, fences, or in car or bus doors.
  • A child can choke on buttons that come loose on his or her clothes.

How can I dress my child to play safe at the playground?

  • Make sure your child wears the right shoes. Keep shoelaces tied properly or choose shoes with Velcro™.
  • Don’t let your child wear loose clothes, scarves, or clothes with drawstrings as they can get caught in equipment and strangle a child. Take drawstrings out of hoods, waists, and the bottoms of jackets. Choose clothes with break-away hoods (with Velcro™ or snaps) instead of fixed hoods.
  • Choose clothes with snaps, Velcro™, elastic, or buttons. Make sure buttons and other items are secure and not loose.
  • Check the seams of socks and mittens to make sure there are no loose threads that can wrap around a small finger or toe and cut off the circulation.
  • Have your child wear a neck warmer or balaclava instead of a scarf. If your child wears a scarf, tuck the ends into a jacket. When on a playground, always take off the scarf.
  • Tie long hair back.
  • Don’t let your child wear a bike helmet on playground equipment because it puts him or her at risk for being strangled. Spaces in the equipment are sized so a child’s head can’t get trapped. The sizing is based on head size without a helmet. If a child’s body slips through a space in the equipment and his or her head gets stuck, there is a risk of being strangled.

Current as of: April 2, 2013

Author: Injury Prevention and Safety, Alberta Health Services