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When the weather begins to warm, there's no better place to be than the playground. Playgrounds are full of energy and life, smiles and games. But in order to maintain a safe and healthy place to play, it's important to be aware of some of the potential risks of injury. 28,500 kids are treated in an emergency setting for injuries related to playgrounds. Of those injuries, falling is the most common injury. Don't be a statistic; learn what you can do to play safe and encourage others to play safe, too.

It is important to always use the playground equipment as it is intended. So, as fun as it may be to climb the wrong way up the slide, or to climb up and over the top of the monkey bars, understand that doing those things comes with a heightened risk of injury. Playground equipment, like slides, swings, and bars of all shapes and sizes are the most fun when used properly. If you see someone misusing the playground equipment and you are worried for their safety, bring it to the attention of a parent or accompanying adult.

Another way to play safe at the playground is to dress for play. Proper footwear may be the most important. Avoiding necklaces, loose clothing or clothing with strings or tassels that may hang is also a must. Loose clothing may snag on equipment and cause a fall or injury.

Make sure to always play on playgrounds that offer safe playground equipment surrounded by safety surfacing, like rubber mats, rubber mulch, sand, or similar material. These materials offer more cushioning than other types of playground surfacing materials. Grass, packed dirt, and concrete do not offer the safe cushioning and may result in an increased likelihood of injury.

Proactive steps to avoid injury

Safe playground equipment

General playground safety information

Concussions and head injuries

Written by: Ben Thompson