What should a parent know about child playground safety?

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Here is a checklist for playground safety. Install and maintain a shock-absorbing surface around the playground equipment. Use at least 9 inches of wood chips, mulch, or shredded rubber for play equipment up to 7 feet high. If sand or pea gravel is used, install at least a 9-inch layer for play equipment up to 5 feet high. Or, use surfacing mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials. Install protective surfacing at least 6 feet in all directions from play equipment. For swings, be sure surfacing extends, in back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar. Never attach -- or allow children to attach -- ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines, or pet leashes to playground equipment; children can strangle on these. Check for hardware, like open "S" hooks or protruding bolt ends, which can be hazardous. Check for spaces that could trap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs; these spaces should measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches. Make sure platforms and ramps have guardrails to prevent falls. Check for sharp points or edges in equipment. Remove tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks. Regularly check playground equipment and surfacing to make sure both are in good condition. Carefully supervise children on playground equipment to make sure they are safe.
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