improving playground safety

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40 deaths were associated with playground equipment between 2001-2008.

  • Average age was 6 years; median age was 4 years.
  • 27 deaths were the result of hangings or other asphyxiations
  • 7 deaths were the result of head or neck injuries

​​Source: CPSC October 29, 2009

Statistics Sources


The top four equipment pieces that are associated with injuries include:  

  • Climbers - 23%
  • Swings - 22%
  • Slides -17%
  • Overhead ladders - 9%

Source: CPSC October 29, 2009

The most common injuries that occur from the above related equipment are:  

  • Fractures - 36%
  • Contusions/Abrasions - 20%
  • Lacerations - 17%
  • Strains and Sprains - 12%
  • Internal/ Organs - 5%
  • Concussions - 2%
  • Other - 3%

Source: NEISS Database, May 2009



Playground injury data is typically taken from children arriving at a hospital emergency room for treatment. This information provides an opportunity to review playgrounds and analyze problem areas where most injuries occur.

Playground injuries are the leading cause of injury to children in childcare and to children ages 5 to 14 in schools. Each year in the United States, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries (Tinsworth, 2001). It is estimated that one-third of playground equipment-related deaths and 75 percent of playground equipment-related injuries occur on
public playgrounds.

Between 2001 and 2008, an average of 218,851 preschool and elementary children received emergency department care for injuries that occurred on playground equipment. 

Occurrence of Injuries 

  • public playground equipment - 51%
  • home playground equipment - 19%
  • not recorded - 20%
  • other - 1%

Source: CPSC October 29, 2009

Of the incidents reported

  • 67%  involved falls or equipment failure
  • 8%  hazards around but not related to the equipment
  • 7%  collisions with other children or the equipment
  • 7%  entrapments
  • 11%  other

Approximately 15% of the injuries were classified as severe, with 3% requiring hospitalization.

Source: CPSC October 29, 2009

Lack of or improper supervision is associated with approximately 45 percent of playground-related injuries.

Source: Safe Kids Worldwide 


Data reported in Tinsworth D, McDonald J. (April 2001) Special Study: Injuries and Deaths Associated with Children’s Playground Equipment. Washington (DC): U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 

Data reported in O'Brien, C. (October 2009) Injuries and Investigated Deaths Associated with Playground Equipment, 2001-2008. Washington D.C: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 

Data was obtained between 2001-2008 by the CPCS, National Electronic Surveillance System (NEISS). NEISS collects playground product- related data from a selected sample of more than 100 hospital emergency departments located throughout the United States. Thus, only emergency room injuries are recorded and the national statistics are estimates. All statistics have been adjusted to reflect out-of-scope cases that were reported to NEISS.

Data was obtained from Safe Kids Worldwide. (2016.). Retrieved March 26, 2016, from