Health and Safety
We want to make sure that all New Yorkers enjoy our parks, playgrounds, beaches, pools, and facilities safely. Please feel free to review our Rules & Regulations for more information, and be sure to follow these helpful tips on how to use our facilities safely.
Park and Playground Safety
Through our Parks Inspection Program, we conduct more than 5,000 inspections each year. Visit our Parks Inspection Program page to review conditions in your neighborhood park or playground. If you would like to report a hazardous park feature or one that is in need of repair, please visit 311 Online.
To ensure that NYC’s drinking fountains are safe, NYC Parks is testing all of our more than 3500 outdoor drinking fountains for lead. By making sure that all of our drinking fountains are safe to use, we are doing our part to help eliminate childhood lead exposure in New York City.
Read more on our Drinking Fountain Lead Testing page.
Pesticide use is regulated by federal, state and local laws. To keep our parks and facilities safe, we use Integrated Pest Management methodologies: the least toxic cultural, mechanical, biological and chemical control of invasive mammals, insects, plants and other nuisance species that impact public and environmental health, safety and wellbeing.
Read more on our Integrated Pest Management page.
To help keep our tree canopy healthy and safe, we’re integrating modern tree risk management practices into the way we care for our urban forest. Through this program, we are nspecting trees and identifying concerns before they become major problems, and performing more systematic and preventive tree care.
Read more on our Tree Risk Management page.
Ticks are present in New York City, and may cause diseases. To stay safe from tick bites, be sure to use insect repellent, wear light-colored long-sleeved shirts and pants, tuck your shirt in your pants and your pants in your socks, and stay away from wooded and bushy areas. If you have been outdoors, take a shower soon after, and check yourself and your children and pets after outdoor activities. If you do find a tick, remove it carefully, and call your doctor if you get a fever or rash.
Visit the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene's Ticks page for more information.
Blue-Green Algae in Parks’ Lakes
Algae in Parks' water bodies become more common as temperatures rise and days lengthen in spring and summer, and we see algae “blooms.” These are usually seen as green-tinted water or carpet-like mats of floating green “pond scum” on some of our freshwater bodies. While most algae are harmless and are important parts of aquatic ecosystems, some blooms that produce blue-green algae (BGA) can be toxic. Because it is difficult to tell the difference, assume you are seeing a BGA bloom when you see water that looks like pea soup, or green, blue, or red paint or mats of blue or green pond scum floating on water surface or accumulated along the shoreline.
Read more on our Blue Green Algae page.
Living With Deer in New York City
White-tailed deer are an important part of New York State's rich ecosystem and are greatly valued by many New Yorkers. However, at high population levels deer can pose significant challenges to human health and safety through deer-vehicle collisions and associations with tick-borne illnesses, and can damage forest biodiversity and tree regeneration. Learn more about what we are doing to ensure that deer and people can co-exist.
Visit New York City's Deer page for more information.
Keep our tips in mind when visiting parks on unusually hot or cold days, or during extreme weather events.
Water and Sun Safety
In the summer, you can cool off at our parks, beaches, and indoor facilities. Visit our Beat the Heat page for helpful tips on how to stay cool, and our Water Safety Tips page to avoid rip currents and stay safe while in or near the water.
In the winter, icy conditions can make parks dangerous. Walk carefully on snowy paths, never set foot on frozen water, and make sure that children are never unattended near ice. If you are on an icy surface and you hear cracking, lie down immediately to try to distribute your weight. If you witness someone falling through ice, never attempt to make a rescue by yourself: call 911 and notify the proper authorities. Be sure to give the exact location and an account of the incident.
During storms, trees and limbs may become weakened and can fall. Exercise caution under and around trees. Visit our Forestry Storm Response page for more information on how to be prepared.
In case of severe storms, visit New York City's Severe Weather page to find all municipal emergency information. Visit our Notices page to find out about any park or facility closures caused by the storms.