Playground safety: Frequently asked questions
How safe is the playground?
The playground your child plays on may not meet Canada's standards for safety. If your playground does not have a deep, soft surface, or if you think some of the equipment is unsafe, call the group that looks after the playground to let them know. Visit Concerned about a playground? for more information.
Why is the height of the playground equipment important?
Children are most likely to be seriously injured if they fall from equipment higher than 1.5 metres (five feet). Children under five years of age should not be allowed on equipment higher than 1.5 metres. If your older child uses equipment higher than that, make sure it has good barriers to prevent falls and a deep, soft surface under it. And watch closely while he plays.
What about home playgrounds?
In Canada, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has a set of standards for public playgrounds. It can be used as a guide for parents and caregivers who want to design a safer home playground. Visit our home playground page for more information.
How can I be sure that my preschooler or toddler can use a certain piece of playground equipment?
The CSA recommends that playgrounds for children five years of age and younger be clearly marked and separated from equipment designed for older children.
If the playground does not have equipment labelled for younger children, you can use the following guidelines:
- If a child cannot reach the equipment by himself, it is likely too advanced for him and might be unsafe.
- If your child is under five years of age, she should not go any higher than 1.5 metres on equipment.
What puts young children at risk for injuries on playgrounds?
- Young children under five years of age are often hurt because they are still developing their balancing and climbing skills, which puts them at higher risk for falls.
- They are more top heavy, so more likely to lose their balance and fall.
- Young children cannot yet understand risks and dangers.
- They need close adult supervision and playgrounds made for their smaller size and stage of development to help prevent them from getting hurt.
Why is supervision so important?
Children under five years of age are often injured because they are still developing their balancing and climbing skills, putting them at an increased risk for falls. Stay close to your child and teach him how to play safely. This means staying right beside children under five years of age. Older children often like to test their limits and take risks, so supervision and keeping watch is important for them too.