April 23rd - 27th 2018 is Playground Safety Week.
Use Our Easy Playground Safety Compliance Checklist to see if your playground is compliant.
First, we recommend that you download the Nation Recreation and Park Association's Dirty Dozen pamphlet to see the top 12 ways most playgrounds are not compliant.
For existing playgrounds, there are many ways you can increase the safety of your existing play structures. We even offer a downloadable Playground Safety Checklist to make it super-easy for you to get your play space into compliance. Some great FREE ways to increase the safety of your playground equipment may be of help as well, such as:
- Keep It Clean. It may seem a bit trite, but keeping your playground clean is one of the first and most important lines of defense against playground misuse, vandalism and deterioration.
- Supervision. Kids need supervision. Without it, they get crazy and dangerous ideas in their heads. To increase the attention given by supervising staff, we recommend removing benches or other areas where staff may congregate and become distracted in their socializing.
- Tighten Up. Loose bolts and hardware can easily snag kids' clothing or skin and cause injuries. Be proactive by making sure they are all tightened down and nothing is protruding.
- One At A Time. It sounds pretty basic, but when kids or adults go down the slide together, their combined weight causes an increase in inertia and therefore increases speed. This means that if a child rides down a slide while on an adults lap, if the child's rubber sole shoe touches the slide, they are traveling fast enough to snap that child's leg!
Call Custom Playground Equipment for more FREE ideas on getting your playground up to safety compliance standards 1-800-242-0039
Does Your Playground Meet the Safety Requirements?
With so many playground safety standards, the Consumer Product Safety Commission seems to have drawn a very fine line between fun and dangerous, but you don't have to sacrifice fun for safety!
that teach them to push their limits and learn new skills."
So instead of focusing on eliminating every potential hazard or form of risk (which is impossible anyway), just shop our commercial playground equipment with confidence. Custom Playground Equipment is dedicated to providing safety compliant playground equipment for schools, parks, churches and other commercial entities. Our Playground Consultants would love to help you design the perfect play scape for you, by encompassing safety-minded activities with proper surfacing and certified equipment. We know such a high dollar purchase can be overwhelming, so we want to offer you this helpful online Playground Planning Checklist for you to download to take the guess work out of your playground project planning. We believe playground planning should be a fun process, not a difficult or tedious one. After all, we are designing playground systems to entice, inspire and challenge our children. Their minds and bodies are benefiting from the play structures we provide them. It really is a beautiful way to change kids' lives in a sometimes profound way.
We are here to help make planning your playground project fun and easy! Put us to work for you: 800-242-0039!
What Are The Playground Safety Standards And Who Sets Them?
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has a set of guidelines that are updated every couple of years. The CPSC also issues product recalls and warnings on their website (cpsc.gov). The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), which works to standardize the quality of materials used in manufacturing, has also issued a set of standards (ASTM F1487-95) for playgrounds. Finally, there is a standard for accessibility that comes from the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) that ensures that children of all abilities can have the opportunity to play.Some states have passed laws for playground safety; so be sure to check with your state or local parks and recreation department to find out about laws in your area. For those states without specific mandates, there are three important sets of guidelines and standards that ensure that your playground is safe for children.
Sound complicated? Don't panic! You don't need to know all the ins and outs of playground safety in order to make sound decisions about your playground. The International Playground Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) provides third-party certification of manufactured equipment, verifying that all CPSC and ASTM standards have been met. Look for the IPEMA seal before you buy.
Get your FREE park or playground quote by calling us at 1-800-242-0039
How to Handle Old Used Playground Equipment
Often times, the driving force behind a new playground project is the need to replace old, unsafe playground equipment. It's a great idea to get with a playground professional to determine how much, if any, of your existing equipment should be repaired or removed completely. One option is to hire a Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) to perform an official safety audit. Your local Parks and Recreation department, local insurance carriers, and the National Recreation and Park Association (nrpa.org) can provide a list of CPSIs in your area. Once you have had your existing equipment inspected, you have several options:
- Keep it if the equipment meets all safety and accessibility guidelines.
- Renovate it if you can eliminate safety hazards or barriers to accessibility without making structural changes to the equipment. Remember that altering equipment may destabilize the entire structure, and if done without the manufacturer's consent, it may also void the warranty.
- Move it if its current location presents a safety hazard.
- Remove it completely if repairs cannot be made to improve safety and accessibility, or if it doesn't conform to current safety standards.
Custom Playground Equipment is here to help you access the condition of your existing structure and we will do everything we can to incorporate your existing play elements into an updated playground, as long as they can be altered to meet safety standards.
Call now to learn your options for existing playground structures. Call 1-800-242-0039 and let us handle the rest!
Proper Playground Safety Surfacing Prevents Most Playground Injuries
Since approximately 80% of all playground injuries are caused by falls to the ground, protective surfacing is the most critical safety factor on playgrounds. Obviously, hard surfaces such as asphalt & concrete are unacceptable because they have little to no shock-absorbing characteristics but did you know that dirt and grass are considered to be just as dangerous? A fall to any of these hard surfaces could be life threatening. That means that it's not by accident that most of us had broken arms, concussions or some other form of playground injuries when our playgrounds were on just plain grass. There are several synthetic and natural materials that offer adequate protection from falls. Acceptable surfaces include mulch, engineered wood fiber, synthetic rubber mats and poured-in-place rubberized surfaces. Keep in mind that although the following surfaces are all recommended for safety purposes, only certain types of engineered wood fiber and rubberized surfaces are fully accessible to children in wheelchairs.
Once your planning committee has chosen the type of equipment and surfacing for the playground project, they will work with you to meet your surfacing needs. Depth & placement of surfacing is of paramount importance. Basically, safety surfacing needs to extend to wherever a child might jump or fall from equipment, which is known in the industry as the "use zone". Each playground equipment component has a standard use-zone measurement; for example, the use zone extends at least six feet in all directions from the edge of any stationary playground component. For swings, it extends in front and back to twice the height of the suspending bar. The entire use zone must be free of other equipment, obstacles or natural objects (such as roots and tree branches) onto which a child might fall. Sorry, no overlapping use zones. Refer to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) guidelines for complete information on your playground components.
Kids deserve to play safely. Call 1-800-242-0039 for a FREE comparison quote on different types of playground safety surfacing within your budget.
Top Off Your Playground Mulch Regularly
The depth of surfacing required will depend upon the type of surfacing you use (e.g. shredded tires provide twice as much impact absorption as sand) as well as how high your equipment is. Generally, 12 inches of mulch or engineered wood fiber is recommended. Talk to our Custom Playground Consultants about your equipment and surfacing to learn exactly what will bring your playground up to compliance. And remember that over time, most types of surfacing compress, particularly loose-fill surfacing such as mulches. Their compression and shifting with use, makes falls more dangerous, so periodic replenishment of surfacing needs to be factored into your long-term play space budget. Many clients set up a recurring mulch order scheduled for a particular annual top-off date. This type of maintenance is highly recommended because it ensures the safety surfacing's compliance regardless of changes in staff, schedules, etc. and it needs nobody to "think of" the facilities' top-off needs.
We can give you pointers to save money on your playground surfacing purchases, just call 800-242-0039.
Potentially Hazardous Playground Equipment
Safe equipment will save your money as well as your children! Equipment that carries third-party safety certification (from the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association - IPEMA) will generate lower insurance costs and probably require less maintenance over time. In general, there are four hazards to watch out for:
- Protrusions and Entanglements: pieces that stick out and could cut or wound a falling child are called protrusions. Pieces that might catch drawstrings and/or clothing are entanglements. Examples include: bolts that extend beyond the nut more than two threads, hardware that forms a hook, hardware that leaves a gap between components and open "S" hooks.
- Entrapments: this refers to any opening that is large enough for a child's body, but not her head, to pass through. No space on a playground (including spaces between guard rails and ladder rungs) should measure between 3.5 and 9 inches.
- Pinch, Crush, Sharp and Shearing Edges: sharp and shearing edges may cut or puncture the skin. Moving components and hardware (on suspension bridges, seesaws, swings, etc.) should be checked for places where a child's finger might be pinched or crushed.
- Accidental Fall Hazards: Elevated surfaces above a certain height should always have guardrails or enclosures. For preschool children, that height is 20 inches; for older children, thirty inches. Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission
Custom Playground Equipment would LOVE to design the perfect playground just for your needs and your children's enjoyment, so call us now at 1-800-242-0039 to get started.