Skip to Main Navigation Skip To Content

Main Content

Playground Safety

Topic Overview

Playgrounds may have hazards that can cause injury. Following some basic safety measures can help your child have fun and play safely.

General checks

  • Make sure there is a soft surface under play equipment, such as sand, wood chips, or rubber matting.
  • Check the surface temperature of play equipment if it is warm outside.
  • Wooden equipment should be smooth and made from all-weather wood. Check surfaces periodically to make sure there is no splintering.
  • Check equipment for loose joints, open chains, exposed bolts, sharp edges, and rust. If the equipment is in a public park, report any problems to the appropriate personnel.

Specific equipment

  • Children younger than age 5 should be closely supervised and play on the equipment separately from older children.
  • Swings should be made from soft and flexible material. Your child should sit in a bucket swing with leg holes until he or she is able to safely sit in the middle of a standard swing. Have your child use both hands. Do not allow more than one child on the same swing. Help your child learn to stay away from swings while others are using them.
  • A teeter-totter (seesaw) should only be used by children age 3 and older. Partners should be close in age and of similar weight. Children younger than 3 do not have the physical coordination to safely use this equipment.
  • Make sure children go single-file up steps to use slides and that they do not climb up the slide's surface. Have your child exit the landing of the slide quickly, so that other children coming down the slide don't fall on your child.
  • Don't let a child younger than 4 use climbing equipment that's taller than he or she is, unless you will watch the child at all times.
  • Trampolines aren't safe for children. Even with constant adult supervision and protective netting, many children are injured on them. It's best to keep your child off trampolines.

Also make sure children are not wearing jewellery, such as necklaces, or clothing with strings attached, such as a hooded sweatshirt, that may get caught in the playground equipment and cause injury.

Other Places To Get Help


Canada Safety Council
1020 Thomas Spratt Place
Ottawa, ON  K1G 5L5
Phone: (613) 739-1535
Fax: (613) 739-1566
Web Address:

The Canada Safety Council is a national, non-government, charitable organization dedicated to safety and to helping reduce preventable deaths, injuries, and economic loss in public and private places throughout Canada. The CSC provides resources for safety information, education, and awareness in all aspects of Canadian life—in traffic, at home, at work, and at leisure. The CSC Web site offers a wide variety of safety-related information and education materials for the general public.

Canadian Paediatric Society: Caring for Kids
2305 Saint Laurent Boulevard
Ottawa, ON K1G 4J8
Phone: (613) 526-9397
Fax: (613) 526-3332
Web Address:

The Caring for Kids website was developed by the Canadian Paediatric Society and provides parents with information about child health and well-being.

Health Canada: Kids' Health and Safety
Address Locator 0900C2
Ottawa, ON K1A 0K9
Fax: (613) 941-5366
TDD: 1-800-267-1245
Web Address:

Health Canada's Kids' Health and Safety webpage provides information to help you make informed choices about your child's health and safety. On this webpage, you can find information about healthy eating, immunizations, physical activity, injury prevention, and toy safety.


Other Works Consulted

  • American Academy of Pediatrics (2009). Keeping your child safe. In SP Shevlov et al., eds., Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, 5th ed., pp. 457–506. New York: Bantam.
  • Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, American Academy of Pediatrics (2012). Trampoline safety in childhood and adolescence. Pediatrics, 130(4): 774–779.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Last Revised January 9, 2013
Rate this content:
1 2 3 4 5

Did this page provide you with the information you needed?

Do you feel this information will help you make better health choices?

Will this information help you when talking with your doctor or other health care professional?

Alberta Content Related to Playground Safety

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.