Some 200,000 emergency room visits a year are attributed to playground injuries. Of those, about 148,000 injuries involve public playgrounds (the remainder happen on home playgrounds).
Guidelines vary between public playground equipment and the structures designed for residential use. In most areas of concern the problems are the same.
A very good source of more information is the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Their “Guide to Public Playground Safety” is a standard reference in the industry, is a 47-page booklet with illustrations. Click here to view and/or download the guide in .PDF format.
Wear on playground parts is a very preventable cause of injuries. For examples of outdated parts, see our Gallery of Broken Playground Parts.
For more information on playgrounds and playground safety, the following organizations offer useful advice and guidelines:
• U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
• International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA)
• National Playground Safety Institute (NPSI)
• American Standards for Testing and Materials
• National Program for Playground Safety
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — fact sheet on playground injuries
• National Safety Council
• ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG)
• Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC)
• Maryland State Dept. of Education Playground and Water Safety Guidelines
For a more general article on children’s injuries, read “How Kids Get Hurt,” in the Washington Post (Dec. 23, 2008).