Basic Playground Safety

If you are thinking of installing a playground for your apartment community or if you already have installed, consider the safety features or materials that you will need to avoid an injury.
 
Jennifer Moffitt, CIC, CWCA

For Backyard Playsets And Kid’s Playgrounds

From , former About.com Guide

As the weather outdoors warms up, children love to go outdoors to play. A few basic playground safety precautions have to be implemented to safeguard your kids as they play outdoors. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to ensure that the playground or your backyard playset is a safe place for your kids to play.

Q: Is there adequate space in and around the playground for the kids to safely move around?
A: There should be a 6 foot fall zone around the playset to ensure that your kids do not hurt themselves as they move around. Avoid hazardous spots like thorny bushes, concrete surfaces, pools, or sidewalks in the vicinity of the playset. For good playground safety, ensure that the playset is located in either an enclosed area, or in an area which is free from these dangers.

Q: Is the playset well designed?
A: For adequate playground safety, the playset should be designed sensibly. There should be enough landing space provided for kids sliding down the slides. The swings should not be too close to the perimeters of the playground. The sand pit should be away from the slides.

Q: Is the playset the right size for my child?
A: You should make sure that the playset is age appropriate for your child. For younger children, you can provide smaller pieces of equipment that your child can handle easily. Avoid high slides and swings where your child can hurt himself. Young children will prefer a sand pit rather than a jungle gym. For good playground safety, you can install only that equipment which your child can use at the age he/she is at.

Q: Is the playset installed right?
A: Make sure that the hardware is installed properly by following all the manufacturer’s directions. There should not be any sharp surfaces or pointy surfaces on which your child can hurt himself. You can check the hardware to make sure that it is of good quality, and do the once over to ensure that it is installed properly.

Q: What kind of surface should I look for in a playground?
A: Hard surfaces are a strict no-no for playgrounds. These include asphalt, concrete, metal or even grass. Recommended surfaces are mulch, fine sand, fine gravel and synthetic surfaces like shredded rubber mulch. Find out more about Playground Rubber Mulch1 from About.com’s landscaping guide, David Beaulieu.

Q: How should I maintain the playset for good playground safety?
A: Based on the weather conditions, you have to do a regular check for maintenance for playground safety. You can inspect the hardware for signs of age, wear and tear, rust, sharp edges, splinters, or any signs of deterioration. Also do a regular stress test with the equipment to see if it withstands your child’s weight.

Q: Do you have any further advice for playground safety?
A: No matter how safe you think your playground is, you always have to keep an eye out for your kids playing in there. Install the playset in an area where you can watch it comfortably, and do not leave your kids alone for too long. Keep checking in on them, and guide them for safe play.

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