The Most Dangerous Playgrounds in the UK

Posted on: 7 mins read
Share Article:

As a parent, when you take your children to your local public playground, you expect that the equipment will be safe to use, and you trust that your child can play freely without risk of serious injury.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, and there have been recent reports of parents expressing concern about the safety of their local playgrounds and the poor condition of the equipment in them.

In a bid to find out how dangerous UK playparks really are, our personal injury team here Simpson Millar have gathered data from UK councils on reported accidents and complaints (in relation to equipment safety) at public playgrounds in their areas since 2019.

We have then used this to help determine where some of the most dangerous playgrounds can be found, indicating where parents may want to be especially vigilant.

We also have advice from our personal injury team on what you can do if your child injures themselves at a public playground, and the steps you should take following the accident.

Are accident rates on the rise?

For those who rely on public playparks as a means of outdoor space, fresh air, exercise and entertainment for their children, discovering that accident numbers may be on the rise is likely to be particularly concerning.

According to our research, the total number of accidents reported between January-August 2022 has already hit 89% of last year’s figures, with more than a quarter of the year still to go.

If this trend continues, it’s expected that the number of accidents reported to have taken place at children’s playparks will be 34% higher than it was last year, showing that the risk of injury in public playgrounds is a valid concern for UK parents to have.

TrustpilotStarsWe're ratedExcellent

When analysing the council data we received back from our freedom on information requests, we found that Hampshire came out as the county with the most dangerous public children’s playgrounds.

The region’s 292 playgrounds accounted for 10% of all complaints and accidents reported in the UK* since 2019.

*based on the data supplied by the councils that responded to our request

Top 10 regions with the highest number of accidents and safety complaints  


Number of playgrounds

Total number of complaints and accidents (2019 – Aug 2022)

% of accidents and complaints versus the UK-wide total









Greater London








Greater Manchester
















South Yorkshire




Tyne & Wear




Hampshire tops the table of the UK’s most dangerous public playparks

We discovered that Leigh Road recreation ground in Eastleigh, Hampshire has had a total of 19 complaints in regards to the safety of its playground equipment, indicating it could be a location where parents may want to undergo extra checks before allowing their children to play freely.

Of the Hampshire councils that provided us with data, Eastleigh Borough Council was also found to have the most complaints, with the council receiving a total of 239 safety complaints from 2019-2022, which represents 89% of Hampshire’s total.

In 2021 alone, Eastleigh Borough Council received 88 complaints in relation to the safety of its playground equipment.

However, although there has been a high number of complaints reported to this council, there has only been one accident reported here since 2019.

Bedfordshire, Greater London, Hertfordshire and Gloucestershire also reported high accident and complaint numbers

Joining Hampshire in the top ten list of the places with the ‘most dangerous playgrounds’ was Bedfordshire, with 215 accidents and complaints recorded over its 55 play areas (since 2019), accounting for 7.6% of all UK accidents and complaints in this timeframe.

Greater London also saw 185 playground accidents and safety complaints across its 472 parks, placing it third within our list.

However, when analysing data from each individual district or borough council (rather than on a regional level), we discovered that Hertsmere Borough Council in Hertfordshire has the highest number of accidents reported, with 106 accidents reported in their 27 playgrounds over the four years. The council had 27 accidents reported in 2022 alone, with four months of year still to go.

Interestingly, despite a high number of reported accidents, the council does not have records of any complaints being made in regards to the safety of its playground equipment.

When looking solely at accident numbers, Tewkesbury Borough Council in Gloucestershire placed in second behind Hertsmere Borough Council, with 71 accidents recorded from 2019 to 2021.

Gloucestershire placed 7th when looking at overall regions, accounting for 6% of accidents across the UK.

Joining Tewkesbury Borough Council in joint second place, Ards and the North Down Borough Council in Northern Ireland also recorded 71 accidents in the same time period. Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex proves to be their most accident-prone location, with 33 accidents reported here, accounting for 40% of all accidents reported in the area.

Where are the areas with the safest children’s playgrounds?

However, there are councils that haven’t recorded any (or many) complaints and accidents in the past four years, showing that it could very much depend on your location and choice of park.

A total of 23 councils contacted had no complaints or accidents recorded at their parks from 2019 to 2022, indicating their equipment poses less chance of injury to children.

This list includes Leicester City Council, who manage 184 childrens parks in total, and Camden Borough council in London who are in charge of 155 playgrounds.

When looking at overall regions, the West Midlands was found to be the safest, with no accidents or complaints recorded from 2019 to 2022 – although it should be noted that not all borough and district councils in the region have provided data.

According to our study, the East Midlands was also found to be one of safest areas, having just one accident and one complaint recorded in the same time period across its playgrounds (again keeping in mind that not all councils provided data).

In third place, Northamptonshire councils recorded four accidents and zero complaints from 2019-2022, with Daventry Country Park’s being noted as the playground seeing the most accidents in the area.

The 10 regions with the lowest number of accidents and safety complaints


Number of playgrounds

Total number of complaints and accidents (2019 – Aug 2022)

% of accidents and complaints from UK-wide total

West Midlands




East Midlands
























North Yorkshire












While council maintenance is key, vandalism is a common cause of equipment damage

Overall, there seems to be a disparity in risk level between playgrounds across the country with some appearing to pose a potential risk to those who use them.

While reported complaints and accidents will not indicate whether a playground should be considered ‘dangerous’ for children to play at, the reported numbers suggest that there are some play parks where parents may be more concerned about safety or wish to exercise more caution.

There are some regional trends too, with certain regions having no complaints or accidents recorded at all, and others reporting a much higher number of accidents in the same time frame.

While maintenance of these sites is clearly important, a lot of the councils advised that complaints and repairs were very often related to vandalism issues. In fact, this was cited a number of times in the freedom of information request responses, as a leading cause of playground equipment damage.

How we can support parents

If you or your child has been injured in a public playground, you have three years from the date of the accident to make a claim, but we’d recommend getting in touch with a team for legal advice as soon as possible.

This is because it is often easier to get evidence to support your claim if the accident has happened recently. This supporting evidence may be witness statements, photos and CCTV footage, and so if you’ve been injured recently then it’s important to note down any details as soon as you can.

It’s not always immediately clear who is responsible when an accident takes place in a public place such as a playground, and personal injury team can help you find the organisation and contact them for you.

Even if you are partly responsible for your accident, you may still be able to claim compensation and so it’s vital to seek advice as soon as possible if you or your child has had an injury in a public playground.

Here at Simpson Millar, we have a dedicated personal injury team that can help you if your child has been injured while at a public playground.

Our study

Our study was conducted in August 2022. Further information about our sources and the methodology used are below.



      • We sent Freedom of Information requests to more than 300 UK councils / local authorities for data on the number of accidents and complaints in regard to park equipment for 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. We also asked for the names of the parks that received the highest number of accident reports and complaints. We received responses back from 145 councils in the 20 working day FOI response period.
      • The total number of accidents in 2022 was 242. We divided this number by the number of months in the year so far (8) and multiplied by 12 to estimate the number of accidents in 2022 if the trend of accidents continued.

Get in touch, today!

Fill in the form below to get in touch with one of our dedicated team members, or call our team today on: 0808 239 3227

This data will only be used by Simpson Millar in accordance with our Privacy Policy for processing your query and for no other purpose