Playgrounds are places where children can have fun and learn. But when a there are dangerous safety hazards, playtime is over.

Accidents can happen if children are not properly supervised, or if a playground is not properly designed or maintained. There are things you can do, however, to help prevent playground accidents.

Nothing is more important that your children’s safety. And while you cannot completely prevent playground accidents from occurring, the following five tips can help you to keep playtime safe:

  1. Actively supervise children – Make sure playgrounds are designed so adults can easily supervise children at all times. Help children to choose age-appropriate play equipment and teach them that crowding, pushing and shoving can be dangerous. If more than one adult is present, coordinate watching the playground from different areas.
  2. Check playgrounds for hazards – Look for trash and broken glass on the grounds. Make sure playground equipment is in good repair and free of rust, loose pieces, exposed nails or screws, cracks and splinters. Check to be sure surfaces are not too hot, such as metal slides.
  3. Make sure surfacing is safe – Look at the surfaces beneath and surrounding playground equipment, particularly under swings and climbing areas. Ground surfacing should be impact-absorbing, such as wood chips, sand, mulch or shredded rubber, and at least 12 inches thick.
  4. Choose well-maintained playgrounds – Make sure playgrounds are regularly inspected and maintained by professionals. Do not allow your children to use playground equipment if you are unsure that it is safe.
  5. Report playground safety hazards – If you discover unsafe conditions at a playground, report them immediately to the responsible organization, such as a school, day care center, park system or city council. Work diligently to ensure problem areas are fixed or otherwise remedied appropriately.