Playground Facts

Playground injuries:

  • Are a common reason for hospital treatment
  • Are serious, especially when children fall from high equipment onto a hard surface
  • Occur on school, park and backyard equipment

Who is most at risk?

Children 5-9 years are injured most often at a playground.

When are children most at risk?

  • Lack of adult supervision
  • When there are many children on the equipment

Children may:

  • Not be able to judge how far away equipment is and whether they can reach it
  • Jump, balance and climb, and not see the danger in the activities they do
  • Take new risks, especially boys who are more often injured than girls
  • Try new activities that older children do when their bodies are not developed enough

Do a safety-check before your children play:

  • Report damaged playground equipment to staff – loose handrails/bars, nails, broken chains are common hazards
  • Choose playgrounds with soft surfaces that are 15 cm (6 inches) deep – sand, pea gravel, mulch, or rubber chips are all great options
  • Check the surface for sharp objects, garbage and animal waste
  • Check that openings in equipment are less than 9 cm (3.5 inches) or greater than 22.5 cm (9 inches). A child’s head can easily get stuck if the opening is too large or too small
  • Public playgrounds must meet safety standards but private or backyard equipment, including trampolines, may not

Use equipment designed for your child’s age. Playgrounds are designed for two age groups: for children less than 5 years old, and for those 5-12 years old.

Choose playgrounds with shaded areas.

Call the City of Toronto at 3-1-1 if dogs are off leash in playground areas.

Do not use playground equipment in the winter.

  • Frozen ground is more dangerous and can lead to a fall
  • Mitts and boots make it more difficult for children to use the equipment safely
  • Watch your children at all times at the playground
  • Stand next to children when they are learning a new skill or climbing
  • Reduce a child’s chance of choking on the playground equipment
    • Avoid dressing children in clothes with drawstrings or scarves
    • Remove bike helmets before playing on the equipment
    • Do not take skipping ropes into the playground area

  • Make family safety rules with your children
  • Help them understand why rules are important and always need to be followed
  • Tell your children you are proud of them when they play safely at the playground
  • Be a role model. Follow the safety rules because children learn by watching you

Making playground safety rules and checking the playground for any hazards will help your child to learn how to play safely. To read more playground safety rules or how inspect the playground you chose to play at, visit Parachute Canada.

Suggested Safety Rules

  • Wait and take turns
  • Walk away from bullying and unsafe situations
  • Slide down feet first on a slide and walk up the steps or ladders. Do not run up the slide
  • Never push
  • Wear shoes with rubber soles and tie laces
  • Take your helmet off before you play on the equipment