Author: Austin Stanfel
We all know that a playground is an essential place for the overall development of a child. It is the time in one’s life that needs to be used carefully to avail maximum benefit out of it. Since it is such a vital part of life, it is highly essential to make sure that it is safe for the children.
A playground should have different types of equipment for various age groups as well as for the disabled children so that everyone can have equal fun over there. Undersized or oversized play structures can create problems for the children, so it has to be well-planned. Today, fabrics are even manufactured for 6-23-month-old children who did not exist in the past. It is important to consider innovative options for this.
There are various types of equipment in the playground which come with moving parts. This poses a severe risk of getting injured through the pinching of fingers between the hinged pieces, or in the spaces between the moving parts. They need to be padded and appropriately fitted so that they remain intact. Similarly, the merry go rounds must have the speed governor beneath them to make sure that children do not start spinning too fast and fall off. Slides should also come with high side walls and evenly sloped ends to prevent the children from falling abruptly. There should be guard rails in all the elevated deck platforms for safety.
The play area needs to be spacious enough for building various playground structures with which the children can remain engaged such as the climbers, sing setts, slides, etc. Ensuring enough space between the types of equipment is vital for children to play freely without getting hurt. There should include sufficient space where the children can run and play. It can be seen in many cases that a playground follows all the guidelines for safety zones, but this space for running around might be lacking.
The surface must be carefully looked after as it a significant safety concern when ill-maintained since children spend most of the time running and playing on the surface. It needs to be covered with a thick material that acts as a shock absorber so that there will be less impact on the children even if they stumble. For this, wood mulch is the standard option available, but its durability and the cushioning effect is low. So, the next better option is rubber surfacing which is softer, safe and comes in various color options, that you can choose the one which bests suits the playground’s theme. Similarly, it is essential to avoid the sharp corners and edges and opt for the rounded ones. If if there are any metal corners, it is recommended to coat them with rubber or plastic to prevent injuries.
Besides this, there should not be any obstacles on the ground as it increases the probability of a child stumbling on them and getting injured. This generally happens in case of balance beams and large stepping stones where children easily trip over. So, these need to be appropriately oriented and carefully placed.
There should be a proper wall or fence around the play area to prevent children from wandering away. It must also have sun protection to avoid the pieces of equipment from getting heated up as well as protect the children from sunburns. This can be ensured through the installation of proper shades.
The guardians or the parents need to be nearby in the playground for proper supervision when required. Regular inspection of the playground is necessary to make sure that it is safe for everyone and has to be upgraded when needed.