Kids fall from playground equipment every day, but injuries can range from bruises and scrapes to traumatic brain injury (TBI). Safe surfacing under and around equipment, along with good adult supervision, prevent many of these injuries. Teach children to slide feet-first and only one child at a time, and check that the bottom of the slide is clear before going down. Also make sure protective ground surfacing extends 6 feet in all directions from equipment.
The surface under a playground equipment plays a big role in how safe a play area is. Children fall down a lot while playing and the right surface will cushion their fall, keeping head injuries to a minimum. There are a variety of playground surfacing options available, each with its pros and cons. Loose-fill options, such as engineered wood fiber (EWF) and shredded rubber, are cost-effective and provide good shock absorption. However, these materials can degrade and thin out over time, making them more expensive to maintain to ADA compliance.
Unitary surfaces like bonded rubber offer greater longevity and are more resistant to temperature changes. They are also slip-resistant and require professional installation to comply with warranty and insurance requirements.
Playground equipment is a great way to develop children’s physical, social and thinking skills. But a playground’s surfacing, equipment maintenance and environmental factors play a big role in keeping kids safe. The majority of playground injuries are caused by falls on equipment. To prevent injuries, the surfacing under playground equipment should be soft and cushioning. It should also be durable enough to absorb impacts.
Traditionally, loose-fill materials like wood chips or pea gravel have been used as 안전놀이터 surfaces. But these materials can cause problems such as splinters and kids placing them in their mouths and ears. The safer alternative to these surfacing choices is yielding, yet firm, unitary surface options such as bonded rubber or rubber tiles and poured rubber surfaces. These are the most popular surfacing options as they are visually appealing and require less maintenance than traditional loose-fill safety surfacing. They are also ADA-accessible and slip-resistant, making them a great choice for spray parks, pools or splash pads.
Children are naturally active and adventurous, but falling on playground equipment can lead to serious injuries. Providing adequate surfacing under and around equipment, establishing the proper distance between equipment, and maintaining an ASTM International-approved maintenance schedule can reduce these risks. A safety playground includes equipment designed to match a child’s age and developmental abilities. More challenging equipment should not be removed simply because of safety concerns, though, as it offers kids the opportunity to test their limits and take healthy risks in a controlled environment.
Proper clothing and equipment are essential to playground safety. Children should wear shoes that are easy to maneuver in and avoid loose or long clothing with strings that can catch on equipment and strangle. A hat and sunglasses are also recommended to protect their eyes from harmful sun rays. Maintaining constant supervision can be difficult on busy playgrounds, so adults may want to choose a strategic vantage point from which they can see all children at once.
Providing equipment based on kids’ age groups is an excellent way to help them develop their physical, cognitive and social skills. It also helps to prevent kids from becoming frustrated with equipment that is too advanced for them. For example, the equipment in a playground designed for kids ages 6 to 23 months should focus on gross motor development. This means elements like low platforms that kids can crawl or walk on; tricycle paths; flexible spring rockers that are shaped to look like animals; and short slides that are no taller than four feet.
A playground that is geared toward kids ages 2-5 years should be designed with the fact that these children have shorter legs and are a little “top heavy.” Elements include low climbing structures, crawl tunnels, activity panels, and small structures such as playhouses for make believe and role playing. It is also important that playground surfacing is adequate to protect kids in case they do fall while playing on these structures.
Each year, 200,000 children are treated in emergency departments for playground-related injuries. Most injuries occur when children fall from equipment onto the ground. Make sure the ground has an impact attenuating surface under and around all structures. Look for surfaces like wood chips, mulch, sand and shredded rubber. Avoid grass or dirt, which are hard and don’t cushion falls.