Home    Product Recalls   Links   Local News   Weather


 Fire Prevention   Fire Inspection   Fire Investigation   Back

playground safety


Playgrounds and outdoor play equipment can provide your child with fun, fresh air, and exercise, but they can also pose some safety hazards. Faulty equipment, improper surfaces, and careless behavior are just a few of the dangers that cause children on playgrounds to visit hospital emergency departments.

Each year, more than 200,000 kids are treated in hospital ERs for playground-related injuries. Many of these injuries could have been prevented with the proper supervision.

You can make the playground a place that's entertaining and safe for your child by checking equipment for potential hazards and following some simple safety guidelines. In addition, teaching your child how to play safely is important: if your child knows the rules of the playground, it's less likely he or she will get hurt.

Adult Supervision

Parents can help prevent playground accidents by taking some precautions, ensuring that there is adult supervision at the playground, and making sure that any equipment that their child plays on is appropriate to his or her age and maturity level.

Adult supervision can help prevent injuries by making sure kids properly use any playground equipment and don't engage in unsafe behavior around it. If an injury does occur, an adult can assist the child and administer any needed first aid right away.

Kids should always have adult supervision when they're at the playground. Young children (and sometimes older ones) can't always gauge distances properly and aren't capable of foreseeing dangerous situations by themselves. Older children often love to test their limits on the playground, so it's important for an adult to be there to keep them in check.

Before you visit a playground, check to make sure that play areas are designed to allow an adult to clearly see kids while they are playing on all the equipment.


Teaching Your Child About Playground Safety

Safe playground equipment and adult supervision are extremely important, but it's only half of the equation: Kids must know how to be safe and act responsibly at the playground. Here are some general rules to teach your child:

  • Never push or roughhouse while on jungle gyms, slides, seesaws, swings, and other equipment.
  • Use equipment properly - slide feet first, don't climb outside guardrails, no standing on swings, etc.
  • If you jump off equipment, make sure that you check to make sure that there are no other children are in the way. When you jump, land on both feet with knees slightly bent.
  • Leave bikes, backpacks, and bags away from the equipment and the area where you're playing so that no one trips over them and falls.
  • Playground equipment should never be used if it is wet because moisture causes the surface to be slippery.
  • During the summertime, playground equipment can become uncomfortably or even dangerously hot, especially metal slides. So use good judgment - if the equipment feels hot to the touch, it's probably not safe or fun to play on.
  • Don't wear clothes with drawstrings or other strings at the playground. Drawstrings, purses, and necklaces could get caught on equipment and accidentally strangle a child.
  • Wear sunscreen when playing outside even on cloudy days so that you don't get sunburned.

Contact us

 Call (574) 272-2144
Fax (574) 272-4043
Write: 18355 Auten Rd
 South Bend, IN 46637
Police-Fire-EMS-Dial 911


David Cherrone
Fire Marshal
Ron Melser Jr.
Lieutenant, Fire Prevention Specialist

Office Hours

8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  

 Evening Information

For all Non-emergency information during evening and weekend hours please leave a message with duty shift.  Your call will be answered on the next day's regular business hours.

Safe Swings, Seesaws, Slides, and Climbing Equipment

Because swings, slides, and climbing equipment are be so different from one another, they each require a different set of safety considerations. And there are some kinds of equipment that are not safe for playgrounds, no matter how careful your child is.

Swing Safety

Swings are the most frequent source of childhood injuries from moving equipment on a playground. But a few simple precautions should keep your child safely swinging in the breeze:

  • Swings should be made of soft material such as rubber or plastic, not wood or metal.
  • Your child should always sit in the swing, not stand or kneel. Your child should hold on tightly with both hands while swinging, and when finished swinging, he or she should stop the swing completely before getting off.
  • Children should stay a safe distance from other children on swings, being careful not to run or walk in front of or in back of moving swings.
  • Kids should never ride with more than one child to a swing. Swings are designed to safely hold only one person.

Seesaw Safety

Because seesaw use requires cooperation between children, they are generally not recommended for preschoolers unless the seesaw has a spring-centering device to prevent abrupt contact with the ground. Regardless of design, both seesaws and merry-go-rounds should be approached with caution. Other safety tips to keep in mind include:

  • Seesaw seats are like swings: one child per seat. If your child is too light to seesaw with a partner, he or she should find a different partner - not add another child to the same side of the seesaw.
  • Kids should always sit facing one another, not turned around.
  • Teach your child to hold on tightly with both hands while on a seesaw, not to touch the ground or push off with his or her hands, and to keep feet to the sides, out from underneath the seesaw.
  • Kids should stand back from a seesaw when it's in use. They should never stand beneath a raised seesaw, stand and rock in the middle, or try to climb onto it while it's in motion.

Slide Safety

Slides are safe if kids are careful when using them. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Children should take one step at a time and hold onto the handrail when climbing the ladder to the top of the slide. They should not climb up the slide itself to get to the top.
  • Your child should always slide down feet first and sitting up, never head first on his back or stomach.
  • Only one child should be on the slide platform at a time, and kids shouldn't slide down in groups.
  • Your child should always check that the bottom of the slide is clear before sliding down. When he or she reaches the bottom of the slide, he or she should get off and move away from the end of the slide so it's clear for other kids to slide down.

Climbing Equipment Safety

Climbing equipment comes in many shapes and sizes - including rock climbing walls, arches, and vertical and horizontal ladders. It's  generally more challenging for kids than other kinds of playground equipment. Be sure your child is aware of a safe way down in case he or she can't complete the climb. The highest rates of injuries on public playgrounds are associated with climbing equipment, which is dangerous if not designed or used properly.

Adult supervision is especially important for younger kids who are playing on climbing equipment.

Climbing equipment can be used safely if children are taught to use both hands and to stay well behind the person in front of them and beware of swinging feet. When they drop from the bars, kids should be able to jump down without hitting the equipment on the way down. Remind kids to have their knees bent and land on both feet.

  • Too many children on the equipment at one time can be dangerous. Everyone should start on the same side of the equipment and move across it in the same direction.
  • When climbing down, kids should watch for those climbing up; they should never race across or try to reach for bars that are too far ahead.
  • Children who are younger than the age 5 may not have the upper body strength necessary for climbing and should only be allowed to climb on age-appropriate equipment. Preschoolers should only climb 5 feet (1.6 m) high and school-age children should only climb 7 feet (2.3 m) high.
 Date Last Modified: Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Mailing Address:  18355 Auten Road, South Bend, IN 46637
Any problems please email: Webmaster