Playground Safety Key With Schools Open

Kristin Wedding
Safe Kids Trident Area Coordinator

Aug. 26, 2008

Playground Safety Key With Schools Open

CHARLESTON -- Playground accidents are one of the leading causes of injury to children in elementary school. Each year, more than 200,000 American children receive emergency department care for injuries that occurred on playground equipment and approximately three out of four playground accidents occur on public playgrounds.

The leading cause of death related to playgrounds is strangulation; a piece of loose clothing or jewelry gets caught on equipment or the child’s head gets stuck between climbing bars. About 15 children die each year from playground-related injuries such as strangulation.

Falls are the leading cause of playground-related injuries with almost half including fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations, and amputations. A child who falls ten feet is at risk of spinal cord injury, paralysis and death. Protective surface materials can make a life-and-death difference.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issues guidelines for playground surfacing and age-appropriate warning labels on playground equipment. The ground should be covered 12 inches deep with shredded rubber, hardwood fiber mulch or fine sand, extending at least six feet in all directions around the equipment. Even with proper surfacing, teachers and playground monitors need to keep kids in sight and in reach on the playground.

For outdoor play, children’s clothing and outerwear should be free of drawstrings and fit snugly to minimize the risk of getting stuck in a piece of equipment; no helmets, necklaces, purses, or scarves.

The CPSC handbook with playground guidelines is available online at For more information about playground safety, visit

About Safe Kids Trident Area

Safe Kids Trident Area works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and younger. Its members include local police, fire and other agencies and organizations in the tri-county area. Safe Kids Trident Area is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Trident Area was founded in 1995 and is led by MUSC Children’s Hospital.

About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents, and has nearly 11,000 employees, including 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $1.6 billion. MUSC operates a 750-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital and a leading Institute of Psychiatry. For more information on academic information or clinical services, visit or