Ensuring safety in public playgrounds is everybody’s business

Ruth A Barker, David Eager and Lisa N Sharwood
Med J Aust 2019; 210 (1): . || doi: 10.5694/mja18.00549
Published online: 29 October 2018

Children need outdoor play but safety standards alone will never prevent all injuries; robust data are required to guide risk minimisation strategies

When an injury occurs in a children’s playground, who is responsible? Media headlines1,2 have highlighted risks associated with a recently opened playground in north-western Sydney. The playground’s giant tube slide was closed following a spate of injuries to both adult and child patrons. With injuries described as “horrific”, the media questioned “how the 30 m long, 14 m tall slide passed safety rules”.1 While playground injuries are fairly common,3 there are specific multilevel responsibilities required to balance the importance of play and physical activity with mitigation of injury risk. In this article, we review the role of standards in industry governance and injury prevention.

  • Ruth A Barker1
  • David Eager2
  • Lisa N Sharwood3

  • 1 Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit, Brisbane, QLD
  • 2 University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • 3 University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.