Health, Food & Nutrition

Play It Safe

Make your child’s playground a danger-free zone.

Girls playing on monkey bars, a common exercise idea for kids
Girls playing on monkey bars

Each year, more than 200,000 children are injured on the playground — and that’s just the number of wounds that warrant a trip to the emergency room. When you’re dealing with a child who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), making sure your playground is safe is extremely important. To ensure a danger-free zone, follow these guidelines from the National Program for Playground Safety.

  • Supervise your child. Watch for potential hazards and intervene when necessary.
  • Dress your child appropriately. No drawstrings, no jewelry. They can catch on equipment and lead to serious injuries.
  • Opt for age-appropriate equipment. Playground equipment falls into two age categories. The little kids’ equipment is for children between ages 2 and 5, and the big kids’ equipment is for ages 5 and up. Make sure your child plays on the equipment that’s right for him.
  • See whether fall surfaces are cushioned. Almost 70% of playground injuries occur due to falls. Make sure surfaces around swings, slides, and seesaws are soft. Fall-friendly surfaces include wood chips, pea gravel, sand, and rubber mats.
  • Conduct your own equipment inspection. Make sure equipment is anchored into the ground, S-hooks on the swings are closed, and chains aren’t rusted.
  • If your playground isn’t up to par, call the attendants (the town, a school) and show how it violates the safety code. A worthwhile playground will make things right.

For more information on playground safety, contact the National Program for Playground Safety at 800-554-PLAY, or visit