Playground Safety

The University maintains several playgrounds in various Housing complexes across campus. In accordance with N.J. Administrative Code 5:23–11.1, all campus playgrounds must comply with the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission 2010 Public Playground Safety Handbook. While the handbook covers an extensive array of playground topics, there are several common areas of concern:

Playground Selection

Equipment should be selected based on the anticipated age group of users. Typically, these age groups are:

  • Toddler (ages 6 - 23 months)
  • Preschool (ages 2-5 years)
  • Grade School (ages 5-12 years)

Signage and labels on the equipment should provide supervisors of children with guidance as to the age appropriateness of each piece.

Surfacing Material

The type, depth and area of surfacing material must be selected based on the anticipated fall height of each piece of equipment. Each type of equipment has a different fall zone, based on its unique use and hazards. See the Public Playground Safety Handbook for more detailed information about surfacing material.

Playground Hazards

Some hazards of playground equipment develop over time, with wear and deterioration. Supervisors of children should watch for:

  • Crush hazards, such as the pivot point on a seesaw
  • Entanglement hazards, such as open S-hooks or C-hooks that can catch drawstrings, scarves or other clothing
  • Entrapment hazards, such as openings where a child's head may get stuck and trapped. Openings must be less than 3.5 inches or greater than 9 inches in width to avoid entrapment hazards.
  • Sharp edges, points or corners that can cause lacerations or punctures
  • Tripping hazards, such as playground anchoring devices or footings

Reporting a Playground Issue

To report a maintenance issue with a campus playground (broken element, surfacing issue), contact Facilities Customer Service at 258-8000. To report a concern about the safety of equipment in general, please contact Environmental Health & Safety at 258-5294.