The information stated below should be used as a guideline to minimize injuries associated with playground equipment. However, it is believed that these recommendations, along with the technical information in the ASTM Standards for Public Playgrounds will contribute to greater playground safety.
What is a Public Playground?
A public playground refers to one intended to be used by children ages 6 months through 12 years in commercial child care facilities, institutions, multiple family dwellings, parks, restaurants, resorts and schools.
Information in this Article:
- General playground safety considerations
- Playground materials and surfacing
- Identifying specific playground hazards and how to prevent them
- Proper steps needed to maintain a playground and its’ equipment
- The use of platforms, guardrails and protective barriers to minimize accidental falls
There are 7 key factors you should keep in mind when laying out your playground:
- Accessibility: The surface material needs to allow access to the equipment for children with disabilities.
- Age Separation: Areas for different age groups should be separated by a buffer zone. This zone will reduce the chance of injury by children of varying activity levels running into each other.
- Age Group: Different playgrounds are structured for different age groups. The safety requirements differ with each age group. Be mindful of the age group that will be using the playground and purchase accordingly.
- Conflicting Activities: The playground should be organized into sections to prevent injury from overlapping activities. Be sure to place swings and merry-go-rounds toward a corner, side or edge of a play area. Slides should not be placed in a congested area.
- Sight Lines: Visual barriers should be minimized so that caregivers, parents or supervisors can keep track of children using the playground. Benches placed around the outside of the structure allow onlookers a place to sit while they watch the children.
- Signage and/or Labeling: Signs should be provided to give the users guidance as to the age appropriateness of the equipment, as well as how to properly use the equipment.
- Supervision: Make sure the supervisor is aware of the basic safety guidelines of the equipment.
When choosing a site for a playground, there are a few factors that are important to take into consideration:
- Travel patterns to and from the playground: Are there any hazards in the way? If so, clear the hazards.
- Nearby accessibility hazards (traffic, bodies of water, steep hills, etc.): Could a child inadvertently or intentionally run into a nearby hazard? If so, provide a method to contain children within the playground (fence, hedge). Be aware that the fence or hedge should still allow observation by supervisors.
- Sun exposure: Is the sun’s heat sufficient enough to heat metal parts, slides, platforms, steps or surfacing enough to burn children? Will users be exposed to the sun during the most intense part of the day? If so, consider positioning it so the bare metal is shaded. Provide warnings that the equipment will be hot in the sunlight. Consider shading the playground with a shade structure.
- Slope and drainage: Will loose fill material wash away in the rain? If so, consider proper drainage to prevent wash outs.
When installing a playground, use equipment and hardware approved by the 안전놀이터 manufacturer. Follow the instructions EXTREMELY carefully or hire a playground installer. Remember to keep all materials from the manufacturer and start a meticulous record of all inspections and maintenance. Thoroughly inspect the equipment before the first use, including the hardware.