Office of Children and Family Services

Division of Child Care Services

Protective Surfacing

OCFS collaborated its regional office licensing staff and family day care providers to develop an acceptable plan concerning backyard safety.  The guidelines below cover OCFS requirements for child safety while using backyard play equipment that will enable the provider, to offer fun, outdoor play experiences to the children in family-based programs, at a reasonable cost.

Compliance with family and group family day care regulations concerning outdoor playground equipment and surfacing will include the following requirements:

  • Materials and play equipment used by the children must be sturdy, free from rough edges and sharp corners; and
  • Outdoor equipment such as swings, slides and climbing apparatus must be assembled in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications, and
  • There must be a cushioned surface under all outside play equipment that present a fall hazard.  Surfacing may not include concrete, asphalt, grass or other hard compacted dirt; and
  • Equipment must be in good repair and be placed in a safe location; and
  • Residential outdoor play equipment manufactured for home use may be used by children in family-based programs and must be used specifically for its intended purpose; and
  • Equipment and apparatus may be used only by the children for whom it is developmentally appropriate. 

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Important Numbers

  • Child Care, Foster Care and Adoption:
    1-800-345-KIDS (5437)
  • Child Care Complaint Line:
    1-800-732-5207
    311 or 646-632-6101 NYC