Consumer Product Safety Commission

Public Playground Safety Checklist
Is your public playground a safe place to play?

Each year, more than 200,000 children go to U.S. hospital emergency rooms with injuries associated with playground equipment. Most injuries occur when a child falls from the equipment onto the ground.

Use this simple checklist to help make sure your local community or school playground is a safe place to play.

Public Playground Safety Checklist

  1. Make sure surfaces around playground equipment have at least 12 inches of wood chips, or mulch, or are mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials
  2. Check that protective surfacing extends 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. Make sure play structures more than 30 inches high are spaced at least 9 feet apart.
  4. Check for dangerous hardware, like open "S" hooks or protruding bolt ends.
  5. Make sure spaces that could trap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs, measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.
  6. Check for sharp points or edges in equipment.
  7. Look out for tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.
  8. Make sure elevated surfaces, like platforms and ramps, have guardrails to prevent falls.
  9. Check playgrounds regularly to see that equipment and surfacing are in good condition.
  10. Carefully supervise children on playgrounds to make sure they're safe.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission protects the public from the unreasonable risk of injury or death from 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, you can call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or send an email to Consumers can obtain additional publication information from the Publications section of CPSC's web site or by sending your publication request to If you would like to receive CPSC's recall notices, subscribing to the email list will send all press releases to you the day they are issued.