Kentucky Association of Counties

KACo Logo

Kentucky Association of Counties


County Champion


Prioritize playground safety and maintenance in your county

From the Consumer Product Safety Commission
Here are 10 tips for keeping playgrounds in your county safe and enjoyable.

Is your public playground a safe place to play?

Each year, more than 200,000 children go to U.S. hospital emergency rooms with injuries associated with playground equipment. Most injuries occur when a child falls from the equipment onto the ground. 

Use this simple checklist to help make sure your local community or school playground is a safe place to play.

Public playground safety checklist

  1. Make sure surfaces around playground equipment have at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand or pea gravel, or are mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials.
  2. Check that protective surfacing extends at least 6 feet in all directions from play equipment. For swings, be sure surfacing extends, in back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar.
  3. Make sure play structures more than 30 inches high are spaced at least 9 feet apart.
  4. Check for dangerous hardware, like open “S” hooks or protruding bolt ends. 
  5. Make sure spaces that could trap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs, measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.
  6. Check for sharp points or edges in equipment.
  7. Look out for tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps and rocks.
  8. Make sure elevated surfaces, like platforms and ramps, have guardrails to prevent falls.
  9. Check playgrounds regularly to see that equipment and surfacing are in good condition.
  10. Carefully supervise children on playgrounds to make sure they're safe.

View All Playground Safety Guides

Brought to you by the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission and KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit organization committed to building safe playgrounds for America's children through the KaBOOM! LET US PLAY campaign. For more information, call toll-free 1-888-789-PLAY or visit KaBOOM! at

Safey and Loss Control Specialist Dwayne Litton offers additional information concerning playground equipment safety, inspections and maintenance.

“We would recommend as a best practice, a regular inspection be performed by a certified playground inspector and that inspections be performed for every piece of equipment,” Litton said. “The frequency of inspections will depend on the type and age of equipment, the amount of use and the local weather.”

Consult the manufacturer for maintenance schedules for each piece of equipment. This routine maintenance schedule should not replace regular inspections daily/weekly depending on use, Litton said, and officials need to keep records of all maintenance inspections and repairs, including the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions and any checklists used.

“When any inspections are completed, the person performing it should sign and date the form used,” Litton said. “A record of any accident and injury reported from the playground should also be kept. This will help identify potential hazards or dangerous design features that should be corrected.”

More County News