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5 Tips to Prevent Children's Injuries at Playtime

Preventing injuries on the playground, in the gym, and at home: Adapted from an HSS Facebook tip series

Shevaun Mackie Doyle, MD, pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, and also a mom, shares her top five tips to prevent injury while children are at play:

  1. Parents should not go down a slide with children. While many think this prevents injury, it can actually do more harm than good. Sliding with a child can often lead to lower extremity injuries.
  2. An easy way to prevent trampoline accidents – only allow one person on at a time. While it’s fun to play together, this can often lead to collisions.
  3. Keep in mind that playgrounds and recess may be more dangerous than gym class. Gym classes are usually safer because they are often held in smaller, more confined areas, use mats and are organized by a teacher or coach.
  4. Guide children on the monkey bars to ensure they don’t fall off and have proper arm support to prevent upper extremity fractures, dislocations, and muscle pulls.
  5. Be mindful of playground surfaces. Are children playing on a hard-top, grass, turf, or wood chips? Different surfaces lend themselves to different injuries or levels of protection from fractures, bumps, and bruises. The softer the surface, the better.


For similar tips and Q&A sessions with the experts at HSS, join us on Facebook at


Shevaun Mackie Doyle, MD
Associate Attending Orthopedic Surgeon, Hospital for Special Surgery
Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College

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