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Playground Safety


Routine safety inspections, appropriate supervision and rules will be established and maintained to assure child safety during outdoor play. NOCAC Head Start/Early Head Start (HS/EHS) will follow HS/EHS Program Performance Standards, ODJFS Day Care Licensing Rules, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and National guidelines related to play ground safety.


  1. Daily inspections of the playground will include but not be limited to,
    1. A search for the following hazards: needles, glass and other sharp objects (Glass and non-bio-hazardous sharp materials can be disposed of in hard plastic or metal containers and placed in the dumpster).
    2. Check areas underneath play structures and swings for the depth of ground cover to be adequate based on the CPSC recommendations.
    3. Check for other dangers like: poisonous or hazardous foliage including sharp branches, thorns, poisonous mushrooms, bee or wasp nests and wood structures that have sharp splinters, bolts, nails, etc.
  1. The Center Manager (or a designee) will inspect the playground monthly using the JFS 01281 Child Care Playground Inspection Report
    1. The report will be sent to the Transportation/Safety Specialist.
  2. Some equipment located on public school playgrounds is inappropriate for the ages of HS/EHS children (ex: monkey bars, chain and net climbers, free standing arch climbers, sliding poles). HS/EHS children will not be allowed to play on these structures and will be instructed to only play on the structures that are age appropriate.
  3. NOCAC HS/EHS Staff need to be familiar with the CPSC Public Playground Safety Handbook.
  4. Sandboxes must be covered to avoid contamination from animals.
  5. NOCAC HS/EHS Staff will routinely review playground safety rules with children and consistently reinforce the rules. These rules need to be written and include appropriate pictures or visual cues and should encompass:
    1. Training for teachers regarding playground safety will be developed based on the CPSC Public Playground Safety Handbook as a reference. Each Center Manager will have a copy of the CPSC Public Playground Safety Handbook as a reference.
    2. Establishment of areas that are safe for running (i.e., not under play structures where a child might be jumped on).
    3. Establishment of playground boundaries if fences are not present. In this case some type of visual marker must be used and introduced to children as the playground boundary.
    4. Appropriate places to jump off a play structure. Safety rules related to elevated areas where children of this size and age should not be jumping: Anything at or above four feet is too high for children of this age to safely jump from.
    5. Appropriate play for slide safety: Sitting down facing frontward on slide is considered safe. Unsafe slide play would be laying down head first, sitting down backwards, climbing up slide, jumping off top of slide, etc.
    6. Sand play: throwing, eating, putting down clothing, etc.
    7. Safety regarding found objects, (e.g- glass, syringes, trash, insects)

7. Talk about traffic safety (driver and pedestrian)rules when going over tricycle safety.  Establish a specific direction of travel and safe location for children to ride without running into pedestrians.  Add crosswalks if necessary

Supervision of Children on the Playground:

  1. NOCAC HS/EHS staff will follow the Active Supervision Policy at all times when on the playground.
  2. There sill always be a minimum of two staff on the playground during outdoor play.  The ratio must never fall below one HS/EHS staff per 10 children (Note: This ratio specifically specifies that only HS/EHS staff will be considered the supervising adults when children are on the playground.  Parents and volunteers can increase the ratio of adults to children but they will at no time replace the HS/EHS staff to child ratio which is 1-10).
  3. NOCAC HS/EHS Staff must follow the playground zoning maps and be strategically located on the playground so that they are on opposite sides of the play structure and situated so that all the children are within view at all times.
  4. The First Aid kits must always be taken and carried by a NOCAC HS/EHS staff person when the children are engaged in outdoor play.  First aid kits carry items that pose potential risks to children and are not to be placed on a bench or other area where they are in reach of children or can be picked up by others.  If the playground is directly adjacent to the building and there is an easily accessible place within view that it can be hung (on the building) out of reach of children, this is an acceptable location to place it.


Forms and Additional Guidance:

This policy complies with the following

Head Start Program Performance Standard:    1302.47
ODJFS Child Care Manual:    5101:2-12-11
CACFP Regulation:    
Caring for Our Children:
Other Sources:    


Effective Date:   8/7/17 Reviewed Date:   6/8/22
Approved By Policy Council:   8/7/17 Revision Approved By Policy Council:    
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