Without question, the most important thing to think about when considering options for your playground or playground surfacing is whether or not the playground is safe. Playgroundsafety.org is a great resource to use when researching safety standards for your playground and surface.
Checklist of the Top 10 things to Consider for Playground Safety
- Adult Supervision is Present – Never leave your playground unattended. Even if safety standards are met and a quality playground surface is in place, adult supervision is needed to avoid potential safety hazards.
- Children Must Play on Age Appropriate Equipment – Playground equipment is broken down into separate age groups: 2-5 year-old and 5-12 year-old. Always make sure children are using equipment that is appropriate for their age. Safety surface or not, this is a key to providing a safe playground.
- Appropriate Playground Safety Surface is Present – 70% of all playground injuries occur when children fall to the ground. Safety surface is the key to preventing these injuries. We recommend poured in place rubber surfacing. It provides a uniform cushion for children to fall on and is the best product on the market in terms of safety, color and design options.
- Perform Routine Checks to Insure Equipment is Safe – Make sure all equipment is secure and free of loose parts/chipped paint/rust etc. Playground equipment should also be secured to the playground surface at minimum. The safest option is to have augured holes and concrete footings keeping the playground in place.
- No Strings or Ropes are Present – Equipment containing strings or ropes is very dangerous. If used incorrectly, it can cause accidental strangulation.
- Make Sure Equipment Does Not Get Too Hot – Constant sunlight on plastic or metal play equipment can be very dangerous. It is possible for children to be burned when playground equipment heats up too much.
- No Bike Helmets Should be Worn – Bike helmets are not to be worn when playing on equipment. Straps can easily get caught and cause accidents. The best measure to take to eliminate the risk of head injuries is to upgrade your playground safety surface.
- Make Sure Children are Dressed Appropriately – Children should be encouraged to wear clothing conducive to playing on a playground. Proper shoes should also be encouraged.
- Children Need to be Protected from the Sun – It is very easy to forget about intense sunlight when playing on playgrounds. Always apply sunscreen, wear hats and take preventative measures necessary to avoid excessive sun exposure.
- Be Aware of Extreme Temperatures – The summer heat can be tough on all of us. Make sure children are hydrated and not out in the heat too long.