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3-05: Ample resources for entire class in physical education
3-06: Outdoor safety for physical activity
3-09: Physical education and safety curriculum
3-10: Use of protective equipment in sports
7-07: Actions against bullying
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Access Board
Federal agency committed to accessible design.
ASTM International (formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials)
Provides consensus standards and related technical information in order to promote public health and safety as well as contribute to the reliability of materials, products, systems and services. This includes anything from art materials and sports equipment to construction supplies and playground equipment/surfaces.
Children's Safety Network
Resources on child safety in school and on employed youth.
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Safe playground equipment and other products.
Injury Free Coalition for Kids
Safety tips and resources.
National Program for Playground Safety
Safe USA
Resources for safety on playgrounds and in sports, and for violence prevention.
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6-08 - Playground safety

Use and monitor the use of the most updated US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and ASTM International guidelines for playground safety. Use the guidelines to address playground surfacing, the use and maintenance of equipment, and supervision.


Research has shown that many playgrounds fail to meet CPSC and other safety guidelines and standards. Following guidelines greatly reduces risks of injury to students and others who use the facilities.


Students must be taught to play safely. Falling from playground structures and colliding with equipment or other students can result in head, face, oral, and other musculoskeletal injuries. More than 200,000 playground injuries are reported each year in the United States. Approximately 75 percent of these injuries are attributable to falls, mostly from slides, jungle gyms, and other climbing equipment. Other causes of injury include running into equipment, various collisions, burns from hot surfaces or equipment, and strangulation. Student conduct related to playground safety must be also be addressed (Guideline 3-09).

Schools should follow CPSC and ASTM International safety guidelines to prevent these types of injuries to students. ASTM International was formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials. Guidelines are fairly specific (e.g., do not wear bicycle helmets on play equipment, details on equipment hardware, inspections for sharp edges) and there are multiple ways to retrieve this information (e.g., videos, checklists, brochures, instruction books). Major focus areas include separation of playground areas for different age groups, installation and maintenance of safe and developmentally appropriate equipment, use of appropriate surface materials, appropriate fall zone areas, and adequate supervision at all times. Playground equipment and play surfaces should be inspected and maintained. Records should be kept of all playground injuries and reviewed. Injury data should be carefully analyzed and used to guide preventive, intervention, and education strategies. Inspections should take place on at least an annual basis (more often depending on life of equipment and surfaces, such as plastic equipment) and adjustments should be made on the basis of injury cause data, updated guidelines, and repair records.


American Society for Testing and Materials. Annual Book of ASTM Standards. Vol 15.07. Conshohocken, PA: American Society for Testing and Materials; 2001: Standard consumer safety performance specification for playground equipment for public use. (pp 472-526); Standard specification for determination of accessibility of surface systems under and around playground equipment. (pp 861-867).

Bowers L, Gabbard C. How safe is your playground? Risk factor two: age-appropriate design of safe playgrounds. J Phys Educ Recreation Dance. 2000;71:23-25.

Bruya L. How safe is your playground? Risk factor one: supervision on a safe playground. J Phys Educ Recreation Dance. 2000;71:20-22.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. School health guidelines to prevent unintentional injuries and violence. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2001;50(RR-22):1-73.

Kalinowski LB, Bowler T. Risk factor four: equipment and surfacing maintenance on safe playgrounds. J Phys Educ Recreation. 2000;71:20-24.

Laforest S, Robitaille Y, Dorval D, Lesage D, Pless B. Severity of fall injuries on sand or grass in playgrounds. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2000;54:475-477.

Mack MG, Henderson W. How safe is your playground? Risk factor three: fall surfacing on safe playgrounds. J Phys Educ Recreation Dance. 2000;71:17-19.

National Program for Playground Safety. Summary of Action Steps: Local Level; State Level; National Level. Cedar Falls, IA: University of Northern Iowa; 2001.

Powell, EC, Tanz RR. Cycling injuries treated in emergency departments: need for bicycle helmets among preschoolers. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2000 Nov;154(11):1096-100.

US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Handbook for Public Playground Safety. Washington, DC: US Consumer Product Safety Commission; 1997.

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