Home > Kids > Childhood Safety > Outdoor Safety > Playground Safety at Home

Playground Safety at Home

Safety Savvy

Position your play equipment so you can see it from the house. A view from the kitchen window, for example, allows you to watch the kids while you cook dinner.

Gadget Guide

If you're going to have a sandbox, get one with a cover that you'll keep closed when your child isn't in it. That way you prevent the neighborhood pets from turning it into a giant litter box, making it a breeding ground for parasites and germs.

Many of the same safety rules for public playgrounds apply to your home playground, too. You'll need a six-foot buffer zone between the equipment and any obstructions such as garages, fences, trees, utility poles, or wires. Soft surfaces—typically wood chips or sand—should extend several feet out from the equipment.

Don't buy play equipment too big for your preschooler. Buy pieces that are the right size for her now and add larger pieces later, rather than buying something she'll grow into. If your play equipment must accommodate older siblings, too, supervise the younger one carefully.

Prices for backyard play sets vary, with metal generally costing less than wood. A higher price doesn't necessarily mean you're getting safer equipment, though. Regardless of what you buy, if you install it yourself, make sure you follow the manufacturer's directions carefully.

Metal Sets

Manufacturers of metal swing sets recommend that the legs be anchored so they cannot tip over when energetic kids swing on them. Most companies suggest setting the legs in concrete.

Plastic Equipment

Plastic climbing equipment is popular with the preschool set. However, hundreds of children have been hurt, a few fatally, because the climbing gyms were used indoors in homes or day care centers The CPSC and manufacturers warn that climbing gyms should not be put on wood or cement floors and that even carpeting doesn't provide adequate injury protection. This equipment should be placed outdoors on sand, mulch, or another shock-absorbing surface.


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Child Safety © 2000 by Miriam Bacher Settle, Ph.D., and Susan Crites Price. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

easter fun
& crafts

Egg-cellent ideas
for tons of
Easter fun.



Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Need some fun ideas for decorating Easter eggs with the kids? Look no further for colorful and cool designs!

7 Ways to Curb Kids' Exposure to Violence
American children are exposed to violence more often than you might think. Learn how to limit your child's exposure to violence and manage the mental health and behavioral effects it can cause.