Playground Safety

Most playground injuries can be prevented, or their severity reduced, by good planning, design and maintenance to avoid playground hazards.
Animals

Playgrounds come in all forms including traditional structured equipment such as slides, swings and monkey bars, natural playspaces that provide unstructured spaces for learning and spontaneous play, or a mixture of both. A well-designed playground will stimulate a child’s imagination and encourage them to explore new and different ways to play.

The majority of playground injuries are due to falls from playground equipment – these typically result in fractures, however they can also lead to more serous outcomes like head injuries. Most playground injuries can be prevented, or their severity reduced, by good planning, design and maintenance to avoid playground hazards. A playground hazard is anything in a playspace that has the potential to cause serious injuries. Hazards differ from challenges and risks – it is important that children are provided with opportunities to experience risk and challenge in playgrounds.

Active adult supervision of children at play and ensuring children are using equipment that is appropriate for their age, size and abilities, are also important factors in reducing the risk of serious injury for children.

Australian Standards for Playgrounds

The Australian Standards for playgrounds have been developed to provide guidelines for the design, installation, maintenance and operation of playgrounds. They are not intended to provide totally risk free environments, they focus on the elimination of hazards likely to cause serious life threatening injuries.

The Australian Standards should be consulted by anyone planning, designing, building or maintaining a playground. For a list of the current Australian Standards for playgrounds, please view the playground standards fact sheet in the resources section below. Full copies of the Australian Standards can be purchased from SAI Global.

Resources

Sport and Play

Injuries can occur during play which means that safety precautions do need to be taken into consideration.
Animals

Play is an essential part of childhood; it helps children to develop physical strength, coordination and balance. Appropriate play can also provide children with opportunities to learn and develop:

  • • Social skills, including learning to communicate, share, collaborate and empathise with others.
  • • Imagination and creativity through deciding what games they play and how the games will be played.
  • • Problem solving skills as they assess risks and tackle new challenges.
  • • A sense of self as they master new skills and play with other children which brings about an improved confidence in their own physical and social abilities, and;
  • • A sense of connection to place, to friends and to their local community and environment.

Injuries can occur during play which means that safety precautions do need to be taken into consideration. However, safe play does not have to mean boring! Play should provide children with a fun and exciting experience that allows them to explore and challenge themselves.

The information in this section provides a range of practical resources and advice to help you create fun, challenging and safe play environments for children of all ages.