Daycare Playground Regulations


A daycare operation is subject to many rules and regulations to protect the health and safety of the children who are cared for at the center. Regulations are in place regarding the set-up and maintenance of playground equipment. These regulations are meant to ensure the safety of children playing on a daycare playground. While each state may have slightly different regulations in place, some basic standards apply across the board regarding daycare playground safety.


  • Most states require that all daycare playground equipment must be in good condition to meet safety guidelines, and a licensed daycare will be subject to regular playground inspections to ensure the requirements are met. Equipment must be properly installed and bolted down or cemented into the ground to protect against injury. Poorly maintained equipment that is excessively rusted or has broken, sharp edges may incur a playground safety violation. Playground equipment must also be developmentally appropriate for the age of the children being cared for at a daycare facility. A daycare serving infants and toddlers would be required to provide closed infant swings on a swing set rather than open seats meant for older children.

Protective Surface

  • A playground must meet the state's guidelines regarding the safety play surfaces. When children play on swing sets and climbing equipment, there is always a risk of falling. To help protect children in the event of a fall, the surface beneath the playground equipment should be made of a soft material to help absorb the impact and prevent serious injury. Some states mandate that a simple grass surface is sufficient to meet the safety standards, while other states require that a layer of sand or mulch must be laid up to three inches deep beneath playground equipment like slides, jungle gyms and swings. Specially constructed rubberized mats are available at many playground equipment retailers and may also suffice to meet many states' safety standards.


  • A playground is not completely safe without adult supervision, and most states mandate that a required number of adult caregivers be on the playground at all times that children are using it. The number varies according to the ages of the children in a daycare facility and the state laws regarding the caregiver to child ratio. For children under two years of age, the ratio is generally one caregiver to every four or five children. Older children may only need one adult for every seven to ten children. Depending on the size of the playground, caregivers may also be required to be stationed at various areas across the playground to ensure proper supervision.

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  • Photo Credit playground image by timur1970 from Swingset image by Franchise from playground image by tim elliott from cute little girl swinging image by Galina Barskaya from
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