The National Program for Playground Safety aligns our research and best practices with national guidelines, standards, and regulations to ensure safe, quality, and inclusive playground spaces.
When assessing playground or outdoor environments, we recommend that purchases be made only from manufacturers that meet guidelines and standards. Please refer to each organization’s website for further information.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Public Playground Safety Handbook, 2010 edition, develop guidelines for public playground equipment in parks, schools, child care facilities, multiple home playgrounds and any other area of public use. These guidelines are completely voluntary and not required by law. Specific safety standards are highlighted throughout the manual. A copy of the referenced standards may be obtained by calling the CPSC at 800-638-2772 or visiting www.cpsc.gov.
- Public Playground Safety Handbook (English | Español) — Provides safety information and guidelines for public playground equipment.
- Outdoor Home Playground Safety Handbook — Guides playground safety for homes and residential child care facilities.
ASTM International has developed voluntary technical manufacturing standards for public use playground equipment, surfacing, and fencing. These standards are developed to help manufacturers produce the safest equipment possible. When purchasing playground equipment and surfacing, documentation should be obtained.
The ASTM standards are required to have been met by the manufacturer, and products are required to be tested. A copy of these standards may be purchased from ASTM International by calling 877-909-2786 or visiting www.astm.org.
- F1148 Home Playground Equipment
- F1292 Surfacing
- F 355 Surfacing
- F1487 Public Use Playground Equipment
- F1816 Drawstrings on Children’s Clothing
- F1918 Soft Contained Play Equipment
- F1951 Testing for ADA Compliance for Surfacing and Equipment
- F2049 Fencing
- F2088 Infant Swings
- F2075 Wood Fiber
- F2223 Standard for Surfacing
- F2373 Under 2
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990 to address discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the areas of public accommodations and recreation, among others. The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board released its standards regarding play areas in 2000 with updates following in 2010. These play area standards outline requirements for play components, routes, transfer systems, and surfacing with the goal of facilitating inclusive play opportunities.
State Regulations, Tribal Codes, Licensing Standards, Military Regulations, and Agency Codes
There are many regulations and rules related to outdoor play environments. Some states have adopted CPSC and ASTM Standards. In fact, some state licensing requirements across Departments of Health and Human Services, Child Care Licensing, and Park Departments vary from state to state. To learn more about your state laws or regulations, contact your state’s department. There is also a Play Related Regulations App to explore.