Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 5: Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health

5.3 General Furnishings and Equipment

5.3.1 General Furnishings and Equipment Requirements Safety of Equipment, Materials, and Furnishings

Equipment, materials, furnishings, and play areas should be sturdy, safe, and in good repair and should meet the recommendations of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for control of the following safety hazards:

  1. Openings that could entrap a child’s head or limbs;
  2. Elevated surfaces that are inadequately guarded;
  3. Lack of specified surfacing and fall zones under and around climbable equipment;
  4. Mismatched size and design of equipment for the intended users;
  5. Insufficient spacing between equipment;
  6. Tripping hazards;
  7. Components that can pinch, sheer, or crush body tissues;
  8. Equipment that is known to be of a hazardous type;
  9. Sharp points or corners;
  10. Splinters;
  11. Protruding nails, bolts, or other components that could entangle clothing or snag skin;
  12. Loose, rusty parts;
  13. Hazardous small parts that may become detached during normal use or reasonably foreseeable abuse of the equipment and that present a choking, aspiration, or ingestion hazard to a child;
  14. Strangulation hazards (e.g., straps, strings, etc.);
  15. Flaking paint;
  16. Paint that contains lead or other hazardous materials;
  17. Tip-over hazards, such as chests, bookshelves, and televisions.
The hazards listed in this standard are those found by CPSC to be most commonly associated with injury (1).

A study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that from 1990-2007 an average of nearly 15,000 children younger than eighteen years of age visited emergency departments annually for injuries received from furniture tip-overs (2).

Equipment and furnishings that are not sturdy, safe, or in good repair, may cause falls, entrap a child’s head or limbs, or contribute to other injuries. Disrepair may expose objects that are hazardous to children. Freedom from sharp points, corners, or edges should be judged according to the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 16, Section 1500.48, and Section 1500.49. Freedom from small parts should be judged according to the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 16, Part 1501. To obtain these publications, contact the Superintendent of Documents of the U.S. Government Printing Office. For assistance in interpreting the federal regulations, contact the CPSC; the CPSC also has regional offices.

Used equipment and furnishings should be closely inspected to determine whether they meet this standard before allowing them to be placed in a child care facility. If equipment and furnishings have deteriorated to a state of disrepair, where they are no longer sturdy or safe, they should be removed from all areas of a child care facility to which children have access. Staff should check on a regular basis to ensure that toys and equipment used by children have not been recalled. A list of recalls can be accessed at, or facilities can subscribe to an email notification list from the CPSC (see also, RELATED STANDARDS).

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Strangulation Hazards Finger-Pinch Protection Devices Guardrails and Protective Barriers Product Recall Monitoring Cribs
  1. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 2008. Public playground safety handbook. Bethesda, MD: CPSC.
  2. Gottesman, B. L., L. B. McKenzie, K. A. Conner, G. A. Smith. 2009. Injuries from furniture tip-overs among children and adolescents in the United States, 1990-2007. Clin Pediatrics 48:851.