Safekids Aotearoa is trying to take the pain out of summertime play.

The child injury prevention service of Starship Children's Health and Auckland Council rangers have come up with a list of the city's safest, child-friendliest parks for the sunshine months (see table below).

The list was compiled after rating parks for amenities, the materials they featured and safety messages erected around play areas.

Anne Weaver, of Safekids, said the campaign wasn't about stopping children from being adventurous, but minimising the risk of serious injury.


"We are not talking about scraped knees and elbows. We are talking about serious injuries. We want them to be challenged, to take risks and develop confidence, but we want to reduce the risk for serious harm."

Every day, 11 children are hospitalised with broken bones, spinal injury or brain injury, with some of the injuries happening while children are playing.

ACC pays a staggering $45 million each year in claims for injuries suffered by children falling: falls in playgrounds and from trampolines are the biggest group cause of hospitalisations for children.

Weaver said it was important for parents to be involved in play with children of all ages. Children aged 6 to 9 were seen to be independent but were the most at-risk group from serious injury.

One of the best ways to avoid a serious fall injury was active supervision from parents and caregivers.

Good playground etiquette was a must, with behaviour such as crowding and pushing on monkey bars, slides and other equipment all potentially leading to a serious fall.

The risk of injuries on a trampoline could be reduced by ensuring only one jumper was on a time.

Safekids also stressed the need for caregivers to ensure children played in age-appropriate parks, reminding them to look for signs to see if the playground was right for a child's age.


The Safekids and council list of parks this week got approval from Auckland mum Michelle Clarke, who said park visits were daily fun for her sons Eli, 5, and Roman, 2.

"We go every day to burn off some energy and because they love it," Clarke said. "Eli is into climbing and it is great for his confidence and brain development because of the hand-eye co-ordination."

Clarke and partner Nathan Gallagher had visited a number of the parks on the list, with their local, Rocket Park in Mt Albert, top of the list.

Tree Tops for climbing and Onepoto Domain for scootering and bike riding were also favourites.

Playing it safe

North Shore



Lake Town Green, Hauraki Corner

Fully fenced, soft surfaces and a sandpit filled with toys.


Onepoto Domain, Onewa

Children's cycleways with roundabout, a boardwalk section and simple obstacles to keep it interesting.

South Auckland



Barry Curtis Park, Flat Bush

Wetland-themed park with giant pukeko and reeds.

West Auckland


Parrs Park (Apple Box), Oratia


11m tower with slides, a climbing wall, talking tubes and binoculars to investigate views.


Tui Glen (Tree Tops), Henderson

Towers and an eagle's nest to elevate users to eye level with the tree tops

East Auckland



Snakes and Ladders, Farm Cove

Giant snakes and ladders game set into a hillside.

Central Auckland


Rocket Park, Mt Albert

Refurbished rocket and swings.



Wynyard Quarter, Silo Park

Structures designed to reflect the life beneath the wharf. Mussel stacks and rock pools plus reclaimed objects from the waterfront.