Spring has sprung, and kids are starting to hit the playgrounds again. But before they start swinging and sliding, here are some tips on how to keep your children safe while at the playground.

Ground cover

When scouting out a playground, check what’s covering the ground surrounding the area. Playground surfaces should never be hard or rocky. Sand, rubber fillings, or soft woodchips are the safest options for children in case of a fall, and they should be layered at least a foot thick for shock absorption. Asphalt and concrete can lead to more injuries when children fall on those surfaces.

Examine equipment

Swings, see-saws, slides, and other equipment are in good repair. Check for rust, sharp or rough edges, broken swings, and cracks. Ropes should be secured at both ends or else it could pose a strangulation hazard. Slides should have sides that are high enough so your child doesn’t fall over, typically at least four inches high. It is not safe to take small children down slides on your lap.

Metal can get extremely hot

In hot temperatures, metal can severely injure your child. If metal slides, swings, monkey bars, and any other surface is hot to the touch, then they’re not safe to play on. Contact burns can occur within seconds.

Dressing for the playground

Closed-toed shoes protect children’s feet. Jackets or hoodies with drawstrings can get caught and pose a strangulation hazard. That is true off the playground too, so remove the drawstrings before wearing. Bicycle helmet straps can also cause strangulation, so children should take them off before playing.

Report unsafe playground equipment to SaferProducts.gov and go to CPSC.gov/Recalls to check for recalled equipment.

We hope you and your children enjoy the spring weather!