What Outdoor Play Equipment is the Safest?

What Outdoor Play Equipment is the Safest?

What outdoor play equipment do yo think is the safest?  Below we offer a comparison between bikes, skateboards, playgrounds and trampolines.

various types of outdoor play equipment

As parents we often ask ourselves these types of questions:

    • A bicycle or skateboard?
    • Playground equipment or trampoline?
    • What backyard active play is safest?
    • What product(s) should you choose when looking for ways to provide children with equipment that’s safe, fun, and offers health-inducing benefits?

With safety in mind, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) conducted a study on various outdoor play equipment and the number of accidents incurred on each, as reported by Emergency Rooms across the U.S.

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The results are in on outdoor play equipment:

Outdoor Play Equipment

ER Injuries medically treated

Average cost per injury

Bicycles/unicycles (less than 15 yrs old) 307,120 $19,791
Bicycles/unicycles (15 yrs or older) 232,620 $24,348
Playground equipment (home and public) 228,350 $22,718
Skating 153,700 $19,443
Skateboards 113,180 $19,424
Powered riding products, not toys 72,040 $27,975
Trampolines 89,390 $18,896
Scooters (non-motorized) 59,910 $18,636
Treehouses or Playhouses 4,820 $32,659
Water Slides, backyard 1,800 $14,833

So what does this mean for our family’s outdoor play equipment choices?

As evidenced above, trampoline injuries have a lower frequency than injuries incurred on most outdoor play equipment, but more telling are the costs associated with treatable injuries occurring on trampolines.  The average cost of treating a trampoline injury was $18,896 compared to a high of $27,975 and a low of $14,833 for other outdoor play equipment.

Worth noting is the fact that most trampoline injuries reported were a result of children falling off the trampoline or striking the frame.  With the introduction of a safety net surrounding a trampoline the possibility of those injuries occurring would significantly reduce or be prevented altogether.  Additionally, using CPSC’s data, it’s estimated that more than $8000 per year, per injury would be saved if all trampolines were equipped with a safety enclosure.  That would bring the average cost of trampoline injuries down to $10,896 compared to the next highest injury cost of $14,833.  In short, simply adding a safety enclosure to your trampoline makes it safer for your children than riding a bike, skateboarding, or even playing in the rest of the backyard other than in the trampoline!

Beyond the safety factor, trampolines offer the best overall health benefits to children and adults.  Bouncing on a low-impact surface gives you a great workout, plus it’s fun!  And that means kids are inclined to spend time on the trampoline more often.

The lifespan of outdoor play equipment.

As you consider the various choices there are for outdoor play equipment, keep in mind the lifespan of each product relative to the cost you pay up front.  The life of a quality trampoline should average 10 – 15 years, meaning your investment could serve you and your children for their entire childhood.  The less expensive options don’t last as long and therefore must be replaced more often.

Be an educated consumer; put safety at the top of your outdoor play equipment list!


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