Tips For Safe Playgrounds
Children love to run, jump, climb and slide at playgrounds. But these activities can lead to injuries if the equipment is unsafe or if children don’t follow basic safety recommendations.
Fortunately, most playground injuries are preventable. Injuries can be caused by falling from equipment or by tripping on objects or equipment. 안전놀이터
Age-appropriate equipment is a key part of any playground design. It minimizes frustration for kids who attempt to use equipment that is too advanced or large for their height and development level, which can lead to them getting hurt or discouraged from playing altogether. It also helps them develop the gross and fine motor skills that are specific to their age group.
However, separating equipment by age is not the only way to promote safety and create an appropriate play environment. Child development experts recommend dividing equipment based on a child’s abilities and current capabilities rather than just his or her age.
Age-appropriate playground equipment should include low climbing structures and crawl tunnels; low balance beams; activity panels that allow kids to manipulate and interact with various textures; flexible spring rockers; and short slides that are no taller than 4 feet. You should also make sure that the playground has a safety surface that is adequate for the height of the equipment, since many injuries are caused by falls.
Surface materials play a critical role in playground safety. Falls to the ground from equipment heights can range from mild to life threatening and often occur because of unsafe surfacing. Surfaces such as dirt, grass, asphalt and concrete are not suitable playground surfaces, but shock absorbing material can disperse the momentum of a child’s fall and lessen injuries.
Loose-fill wood fiber mulch and recycled rubber mulch are popular quality surfacing options on a budget, but require ongoing raking and topping off to ensure optimum safety and performance. Unitary surface options are more costly upfront, but can save on maintenance costs and offer longer warranties and durability.
Bonded rubber uses clean shredded recycled tire material bonded together with polyurethane for a unitary surface that offers mid-to-low maintenance and a natural aesthetic. This surface can also help with ADA compliance by providing accessible pathways for strollers and wheelchairs. Ask your playground provider about the installation process and timelines for this option to avoid unforeseen delays.
Supervision is a key factor in playground safety. Research shows that children are more likely to sustain injuries on playground equipment when there is no adult supervision. Ensure that parents, care givers, and teachers are present when kids play. Observe how they interact with each other and the equipment, and intervene when necessary.
Create injury and emergency protocols that are consistent and easy for supervisors to remember. Ensure that there is suitable impact attenuating surfacing beneath and around all equipment. Check that spaces that could trap kids, like openings in ladder rungs and gaps in guardrails, are less than 9 inches.
Encourage supervisors to talk to kids and be a positive role model. For example, if kids are arguing about sharing or taking turns on equipment, set up a rule where they can go to a teacher to report problems. This can help them open up and learn how to collaborate. It also helps them feel safer.
Providing shade structures for playgrounds helps ensure that kids can play outside comfortably all year round. Playground shade keeps surface temperatures cooler, protecting rubber surfacing, metal equipment and other elements from damaging heat.
Shade also protects kids from harmful UV rays. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, children are especially sensitive to direct sun exposure and can experience skin damage from just one bad burn. Without proper protection, kids can suffer from painful sunburns, heat exhaustion and in severe cases even skin cancer.
Shade structures also keep metal playground equipment cooler to the touch. This is especially important for kids who may have difficulty understanding that metal can be hot if touched after playing in the sun all day. The use of a shade structure can help prevent them from getting burned and allowing them to push their limits without worrying about the consequences.