Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 6: Play Areas/Playgrounds and Transportation

6.2 Play Area/Playground Equipment

6.2.5 Inspection of Play Areas/Playgrounds and Equipment Inspection of Indoor and Outdoor Play Areas and Equipment

The indoor and outdoor play areas and equipment should be inspected daily for the following:

  1. Missing or broken parts;
  2. Protrusion of nuts and bolts;
  3. Rust and chipping or peeling paint;
  4. Sharp edges, splinters, and rough surfaces;
  5. Stability of handholds;
  6. Visible cracks;
  7. Stability of non-anchored large play equipment (e.g., playhouses);
  8. Wear and deterioration.

Observations should be documented and filed, and the problems corrected.

Facilities should conduct a monthly inspection as outlined in Appendix EE, America’s Playgrounds Safety Report Card.

Regular outdoor inspections are critical to prevent deterioration of equipment and accumulation of hazardous materials within the play site, and to ensure that appropriate repairs are made as soon as possible (1,2). Pools of water may cause children to slip and fall.

A monthly safety check of all the equipment within the facility as a focused task provides an opportunity to notice wear and tear that requires maintenance.

Regularity of inspections can be assured by assigning a staff member to check all play equipment to make certain that it is safe for children. Observations should be made while the children are playing, too, to spot any maintenance problems and correct them as soon as possible.

If an off-site play area is used, a safety check for hazardous materials within the play area should be done upon arrival to the off-site playground. Hazardous materials may have been left in the play area by other people before the arrival of children from the child care facility.

If the playground is not safe, then alternate gross motor activities should be offered rather than allowing children to use equipment that is not safe for them because of hazards.

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Integrated Pest Management Prohibited Surfaces for Placing Climbing Equipment Policy on Use and Maintenance of Play Areas Reports of Annual Audits/Monthly Maintenance Checks of Play Areas and Equipment Records of Proper Installation and Maintenance of Facility Equipment
Appendix EE: America’s Playgrounds Safety Report Card
  1. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 2008. Public playground safety handbook. Bethesda, MD: CPSC.
  2. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). For kids’ sake: Think toy safety. Washington, DC: CPSC.