When constructing a playground for a business, community area, or organization, there is much more to consider than you might think. Playgrounds are a great place for children to get exercise, express their imaginations, be social, and have fun. However, to parents they can seem like metal death traps. At J.C. Walker & Sons Corporation, our goal is to help you build the most attractive, fun, and safest playground possible.The importance of safe playgrounds is paramount due to the fact that on average, according to Riseandshine.org, more than 200,000 children across America go to the emergency room each year for injuries associated with playground equipment. Most of these injuries are caused by a fall from the playground structure to the ground. In part two of our playground safety blog series, we’ll discuss our tips on how to create a playground that is safe for children of all ages to play.
Equipment For All
When constructing your playground, in order to prevent harmful accidents, you want to make sure that your equipment caters to those who play on it. You want to make sure the playground is geared toward age, developmental level, size, and ability level of the children in your area. For example, swings can break if children who are too large for them try to use them. On the other hand, children who are too small for the equipment could have trouble playing and are at higher risk for falling and hurting themselves.
Consider Playground Surface
The majority of playground accidents occur because of a fall. That being said, the surface of your playground is important when it comes to the safety of the children who play. When it comes to surface, you want to make sure it is soft enough to cushion and absorb the impact of children landing on it. Avoid hard surfaces like asphalt or concrete. It is recommended that you use a thick layer of one of the following materials:
- Wood chips, sand, pea gravel
- Safely tested rubber material
Every playground needs at least 12 inches of mulch, wood chips, sand, pea gravel, or rubber. This pads the impact when a child falls more effectively than a shallow layer. In addition, it’s important to make sure that the surface extends six feet beyond the playground in all directions. This is to provide extra protection for those children who like to jump off of platforms, swings, and slides.
Consider Potential Accidents
When constructing a playground, it’s important to consider all the possible accidents that could occur on your structure. Doing this prevents children from falling or getting caught on climbing equipment. Some general guidelines are:
- Platforms that are higher than 30 inches above the ground should have guardrails or barriers. In addition, these structures should be at least nine feet from one another.
- Vertical and horizontal spaces should be either less than three inches wide or more than nine inches wide. This is to prevent a child’s head from getting trapped, while also preventing them from falling through.
- Stairs, steps, and rungs on a ladder should be evenly spaced.
- Look for sharp points or edges. In addition, if wood is used as part of your playground’s construction, check for nails or screws sticking out.
- Make sure there aren’t any tripping hazards like exposed concrete or tree stumps.
- Make sure your equipment is maintained well. If it is not in good condition, it’s more likely to cause injury.
- Playground equipment that sits out in the sun is a burning hazard. Provide adequate shade to prevent children from being burned by the playground’s equipment.
Maintenance And Inspection
The way your playground is maintained is crucial to the safety of those who play on your structure. There should be no broken equipment, wood equipment shouldn’t be cracked or splintering, and there should not be rust on metal equipment. In addition, the fencing should be adequate enough to prevent children from running out into oncoming traffic. And lastly, surfacing should be maintained regularly so that there is adequate cushion. If you’re unsure whether or not your playground is up to snuff, contact J.C. Walker & Sons Corporation today. Not only do we help you construct a safe and fun playground, but we also inspect your existing one to make sure it meets the highest safety standards.