Select A Department:

Courses in this Department

How to Make Your Home Healthy and Safe

Build a Safe Home Playground

Make Your Home a Safe Haven for Kids

Avoid Grill Fires, Explosions and CO Poisoning

Don't Let a Burglar Ruin Your Vacation

Is Your Tap Water Safe?

Are Your Cleaning Products Making Your Family Ill?

Localities Crack Down on Homeowners Alarm Calls

Radon Sends Ripples through Water Systems

Are you a Hazardous Waste Case?


Create Your Safe Play Zone

What's the Buffer Zone?

Create a buffer zone, covered with a protective surfacing material, under and around all equipment where a child might fall. The protective surfacing material should extend a minimum of 6 feet in all directions from the perimeter of the equipment. To prevent further injury from a fall, this area must be free of other equipment and obstacles that might strike a child.

Dig a Pit

Loose-Fill (sand, fine gravel, mulch, wood chips, etc.) material requires a method of containment such as a retaining barrier or excavated pit. It also requires good drainage underneath the material, periodic renewal or replacement, and continuous maintenance (e.g., leveling, grading, sifting, raking) to maintain its depth and to remove foreign matter.

Replace Loose-Fill Periodically

Wet weather, freezing temperatures, normal use over time, and contamination will decompose, pulverize, and compact material. Be sure to renew or replace it before it turns hard.

The Nitty Gritty on Sand and Gravel

Although cheap, sand is the least desirable option. Sand can scatter easily outside of your containment area. It also hardens quickly when wet, is abrasive to floor surfaces when tracked indoors, and attracts animals as a litter box. Gravel is more difficult to walk on and can present a tripping hazard if scattered.

Swing Safety Zones

Swing sets should be securely anchored. Swings also should have a buffer zone with protective surfacing extending a minimum of 6 feet from the outer edge of the support structure on each side. The use zone in front and back of the swing should be even larger, and extend out a minimum distance of twice the height of the swing as measured from the ground to the swing hangers on support structure.

Rules on Swing Spacing

To prevent injuries from impact with moving swings, swings should not be too close together or too close to support structures. Swing spacing should be at least 8 inches between suspended swings and 8 inches from the support frame. The minimum clearance between the ground and underside of swing seat should be 8 inches.

That's how to create the best buffer zone between your child and potential injury. Now, read on for more equipment safety guidelines.

Consider a contractor if you are not handy. Poorly installed playgrounds can be an added hazard.

Page 4 of 7