Playground hazards are a major cause of custom playground injury. The fact is that most playground injuries can be less severe in the damage they cause or can be totally avoided. This can be easily achieved through proper planning, and making appropriate design adjustments to the playground’s architectural plan. Proper maintenance can also help ensure that appropriate steps are taken to ensure children’s safety in the playground. Some primary steps you can take to ensure that a playground is safe for children are:
- Make sure that any hard surfaces are hidden under equipment
- Avoid or repair any damage to the equipment promptly
- Place equipment at suitable distances so as to avoid overcrowded regions in the playground
- Check for any sharp edges and pinch points
- Ensure that children don’t trip over objects or playground equipment by removing any trip hazards
Here are some additional playground safety tips that you should implement when developing a playground:
Protection Form Surface Hazards
The surface around playground equipment needs to be such that if a child falls onto it, he/she doesn’t sustain injury. Improper surfaces are the number one reason for playground injuries. Research shows that over 70 percent of all accidents on the playground are due to children falling on surfaces that were inappropriate for a playground. Surfaces that should be avoided under playground equipment include:
- Concrete surfaces
- Packed earth
Playground equipment should have surfaces that have a cushioning effect, when and if, children fall onto them. Rubber based surfaces are ideal for playgrounds as they have these qualities. The minimum recommended depth for a protective rubber surface under playground equipment is about 9”. Other surfaces that are appropriate for such purposes include:
- Pea gravel
These surfaces are not only safer and cause less injury, but are also very suitable additions for your natural playground.
A protrusion hazard is a hazard that is essentially capable of impairing a child. This type of a hazard can cut, impair or maim a child. These are also dangerous as some protrusions might catch a string or items of clothing worn by a child and can result in strangling the child or making him/her trip. Common protrusions on playgrounds include:
- Nuts and bolts
- Any decayed piece of playground equipment that extrudes out of the equipment body
Protrusions that pose a hazard can be easily avoided if playground equipment is thoroughly audited for such projections. If found on equipment, they can be repaired or fixed by contacting the equipment supplier.
These are some of the most common type of hazards that are found in the playground. Avoiding these can help make your playground a much safer place for children. Incorporate these safety tips into your playground designs today.