The slide is one of the most popular pieces of play equipment in Australian play spaces and can provide endless fun for all ages. Slides come in a range of designs to provide different play experiences, from straight to wavy and even corkscrews or multi-track slides. Slides can be standalone, fixed to a mound or added to a larger structure to increase the play value.

The fun of sliding is allowing gravity to take over but with momentum comes risk of injury such as bumps and bruises or worse – fractures or head injuries. Here are Kidsafe Queensland’s top tips for slide safety.

Tips for safe slides in playgrounds

Keep a clear space of 1000 mm to the sides of the slide
This is to prevent a user from hitting something (or someone) with their arms outstretched while sliding. By keeping items and equipment out of this area you can reduce the risk of bystanders being struck.

Check the fall surface for material depth and condition
You should make sure sand and wood chips are at least 200 mm deep around the slide and check that rubber hasn’t split or cracked. Ask us about conducting drop testing to check the impact absorbency of rubber surfacing.

Check slide surfaces for sun exposure and temperature at different times of day
The Queensland sun is no joke! Any surface exposed to direct or even indirect sunlight can be more than 20 degrees hotter than the outside temperature. This means that on a 30 degree morning slides can be over 50 degrees. Playground operators should make sure there is enough shade provided to prevent sun exposure in the hottest times of the day.

Set up rules for play to establish how kids should use the area
We can allow kids to play freely while preventing exposure to unreasonable risks by implementing a simple set of rules or expectations such as one child at a time on a slide. Unsupervised or public parks require parents and kids to asses risks themselves before playing. This skill helps kids understand their abilities by overcoming challenges and accomplishing goals.

Regularly inspect all playground equipment
As part of your safety management system, make routine visual inspections of playground structures. Look for signs of wear and tear such as surface rust on metal or broken plastic elements. Ask us for recommendations for frequency of inspections or enquire about visual inspection training courses for your staff.

Need some advice about your playground?

Kidsafe Qld are specialists in injury prevention. Our mission is to keep kids out of hospital and prevent injuries at home, on the road and at play. We offer comprehensive playground inspection and consultation services and run regular playground visual inspection training courses. Call Kidsafe Qld 3854 1829