Playground Accidents Statistics: 10 Most Dangerous Pieces of Playground Equipment

Table of Contents

    Playgrounds can be magical places that allow children and families to engage in physical activities while exercising their imagination. Most parents allow their children to experience the fun and thrills of a playground believing that the environment is safe. However, when children are testing their physical limits by climbing, jumping, swinging, or sliding, accidents could occur. When the playground equipment is defective or in disrepair, the danger to children increases.

    Dangerous Playground Equipment and Accident Statistics Infographic

    Playground Death and Injury Statistics

    Playgrounds are meant to be fun places where children could engage in playful physical exercise. Unfortunately, playgrounds present various hazards, resulting in many injuries.

    • On average, over 200,000 children a year require emergency room care due to a playground-related injury.
    • Out of those injured children, 15 children a year suffer fatal injuries.
    • Nearly 80% of all injuries involve falls. 90% of the most severe injuries are the resulting from falling from a significant height.
    • 58% of playground deaths are caused by asphyxiation.
    • 23% of injuries occur on home equipment
    • Public playgrounds and schools account for 76% of injuries.
    • Male children make up 62% of children killed on playground equipment.
    • 46% of injuries are to children between the ages of 10 and 14.
    • 49% of head and face injuries occur to children four years and younger.

    10 Most Dangerous Pieces of Playground Equipment

    Playgrounds provide a variety of obstacles and equipment to engage children in games of physical play. However, even though there have been great strides in reducing the risks playground equipment presents to children, there are some inherently dangerous pieces of equipment that are still regularly found in playgrounds.

    Metal Slides

    Most slides present little danger if they meet specific regulations. However, metal slides can become dangerously hot in the summer sun. A child could suffer a second-degree burn from a hot metal surface. Furthermore, some older slides are at a significant height that could result in a serious injury if a child falls from the top.


    Believe it or not, merry-go-rounds are one of the most dangerous rides for young children. These large rides spin around, potentially causing severe injuries to a child who falls from a horse or other apparatus. Some merry-go-rounds include equipment that allows children to spin around. If spun too fast, a child could be thrown from the ride.

    Tetherball Poles

    A tetherball is a tall pole with a ball attached by a long rope. The ball will swing around the pole, allowing children to hit it in one direction or the other. Many injuries occur when a ball is swinging at a fast speed and strikes a child’s head, back, or chest.


    This classic piece of playground equipment allows children to sit on each end, raising and lowering each other in succession. When there is a significant disparity in weight, a smaller child could be thrown from the device.

    Jungle Gyms

    These fixtures at most playgrounds allow children to climb and swing freely. However, many injuries occur when a child is not physically capable of safely navigating the various challenges. A lack of parental supervision is a common factor in jungle gym injuries.


    Few pieces of playground equipment appear safer than sandboxes. However, if not thoroughly cleaned and maintained, sandboxes are a breeding ground for bacteria. Many children contract illnesses and diseases from sandboxes across the country.

    Monkey Bars

    Monkey bars are another staple in many playgrounds. Similar to jungle gyms, this piece of exercise equipment should only be used by older children and under supervision. Depending on the height of the bars, a fall could severely injury a child, including fractures or concussions.

    Ball Pits

    Usually found in indoor playgrounds or amusement centers, ball pits present several hazardous. First, if not cleaned regularly, ball pits could spread disease-causing bacteria like a sandbox. Additionally, children often jump into a ball pit without confirming that another child is not hidden beneath the balls.


    Trampolines are usually found in a person’s yard but are still installed in some playgrounds. When a trampoline lacks safety netting or too many children are jumping on it at one time, injuries are likely to occur.


    Rings attached to long chains can provide a fun way to get physical exercise. However, many children lack the proper upper body strength to use rings safely. When someone lacks the skill or strength to properly use rings, they could easily fall and injure their head, neck, or back.

    What is the Leading Cause of Playground Deaths?

    Approximately 45% of playground injuries include fractures, concussions, internal injuries, and dislocations. Unfortunately, a small percentage of children are killed while enjoying playground equipment. About 56% of these children died of strangulation or asphyxiation. 20% suffered a fatal injury when falling from playground equipment.

    What Age Group has the Highest Rate of Playground Injuries?

    Over half of all playground-related injuries are suffered by children between the ages of five and nine. Many of these injuries occur on play equipment in schoolyards. The most common injuries are to a child’s hand or arm. Children under the age of four are more likely to suffer head and face injuries.

    How Can Playground Injuries be Prevented?

    Many playground injuries are preventable. As a parent, it is important to inspect the equipment for visible hazards such as open S hooks, rust, or other defects. Additionally, all equipment should be used properly – this means one person on a swing at a time, waiting for turns on slides, not jumping from the equipment, and avoiding pushing or roughhousing on the equipment. Appropriate clothing should also be worn, avoiding items or jewelry (especially necklaces) that could get caught up in the equipment. Younger children should also be properly supervised at all times – it only takes a fleeting moment for a life-changing accident to occur.

    If your child has been injured in a playground-related accident, contact the Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 to discuss your legal rights and options.