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Home Playground Safety Checklist

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Ten points to keep in mind

  1. Install and maintain shock-absorbing surface around the play equipment. Use at least 9 inches of wood chips, mulch, or shredded rubber for play equipment up to 7 feet high. If sand or pea gravel is used, install at least a 9-inch layer for play equipment up to 5 feet high. Or, use surfacing mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials.
  2. Install protective surfacing at least 6 feet in all directions from play equipment. For swings, be sure surfacing extends, in back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar.
  3. Never attach or allow children to attach ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines, or pet leashes to play equipment; children can strangle on these.
  4. Check for hardware, like open "S" hooks or protruding bolt ends, which can be hazardous.
  5. Check for spaces that could trap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs; these spaces should measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.
  6. Make sure platforms and ramps have guardrails to prevent falls.
  7. Check for sharp points or edges in equipment.
  8. Remove tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.
  9. Regularly check play equipment and surfacing to make sure both are in good condition.
  10. Carefully supervise children on play equipment to make sure they are safe.

Remember, if you are a child care provider or thinking about starting a child daycare, each state has regulations that you need to consider before planning your out door play area. For links to your state daycare regulations, click here.

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