The public playground can be a great place to let your children unwind and play with other kids in the neighborhood, but it can also be rife with hidden dangers. The federal government recommends certain criteria for public playgrounds to follow in order to be as safe as possible. Read on for some of these safety precautions to see if your local playground is safe or potentially hazardous.
Most injuries that children will get at the playground involve falling, so it’s important that your kids are playing on the right surfaces. Hard surfaces like concrete, blacktop, packed ground or grass will not protect your child in the event of a fall. Look for play equipment surrounded by deep footing—at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand, or pea gravel are recommended, unless the playground uses safety-tested mats. This surfacing should extend 6 feet from all play equipment. Around swings, the distance should increase to twice the height of the swings.
Be sure to check your playground equipment for proper upkeep. Watch for protruding bolts, open “S” hooks, and other dangerous hardware. All equipment should be sturdy and firmly bolted down. If it seems like no one has been looking after your local playground, it’s possible that there are hidden safety issues with the equipment.
Age appropriate activities
Playgrounds draw groups of kids of very different ages, and as you know, your toddler has much different playing needs than your nine year old. A great playground will have diverse set of activities for all age groups, but barring that, you should make sure that your children are not faced with playsets that are unsafe for their age group.
All raised platforms on playsets should have guardrails to prevent falls. It’s recommended that for pre-school age children, any platforms more than 20 inches off the ground should have guardrails. For school age children, any platform 30 inches or higher should have guardrails.
Recommended play equipment
There are a few types of equipment that frequently cause accidents and therefore aren’t recommended for public playgrounds. These include: Heavy swings like those made to look like animals, glider swings, and ropes that can fray or make a loop should be avoided—all ropes should be anchored to the ground to avoid children getting caught. Lastly, hanging rings and trapeze bars are not recommended as they are technically athletic equipment and thus pose more risk to your child’s play.
One way to control for these factors is to bring the playground to your backyard with a playset from Play N Learn’s Playground Superstore! You’ll be able to ensure that your child is as safe as possible while playing on a fun and interesting playset, like our Woodplay and Play N’ Learn Play Systems.Tweet