Playgrounds are supposed to be safe places for children to play. Therefore, laws, regulations and safety standards have to exist. You can’t just place swings and slides and call it a day. There is a lot of preparation to turn something from an empty space into a safe environment for children.
Today, we’re going to talk about some of the things you have to know about playground safety. Now, we won’t put too much emphasis on laws and regulations themselves, but we’ll shift our focus to safety standards and things that need to be done. So, let’s begin.
1. Safety Comes First
When it comes to playground equipment – safety comes first. Sure, big swings and slides might be more fun for children, but they could also pose a much bigger risk to their safety. That is why AS 4685.1-6:2023 was put into place back in 2017. This set of playground safety standards covers everything you need to know about playground equipment and safety requirements, regulations and test methods.
This set of safety standards covers everything from materials used to design and manufacture of the playground equipment, and unless the equipment is in adherence to these standards – it can’t be a part of the playground.
2. Protective Surfacing Is A Must
You can’t just place a swing on a concrete surface. That would be in clear violation of the playground safety standards and regulations. The protective surfacing must extend at least 2 cm in all directions from the playground equipment, and in the case of swings, the surfacing must extend, both front and back, at least twice the height of the swing bar.
Also, the surface must be made from select materials. The surface can be made from protective, safety-tested rubber, wood, mulch, sand or pea gravel. As you can see, hard surfaces like concrete or plain dirt aren’t adherent to the safety protocols.
3. Keeping A Safe Distance
Any piece of playground equipment that is 75 cm or taller must be at least 3 meters apart from one another. In feet, that would be approximately 30 inches or higher and 9 feet apart.
4. Size Requirements For Openings
Tube slide openings or guardrails, or any other opening must be either smaller than 9 cm in diameter or bigger than 23 cm in diameter. This kind of sizing will prevent children from being stuck or trapped inside a piece of playground equipment. The size will also depend on the application of the piece of equipment.
5. All Elevated Surfaces Must Come With Guardrails
Regardless of their purpose, any elevated surface that’s found on the playground must come equipped with safety rails. This is an absolute must, considering that most accidents that occur on the playgrounds are caused by falling.
6. All Equipment Must Be Inspected Regularly
Finally, to make sure everything stays up to standard, every piece of equipment found on the playground must be inspected regularly by the appointed safety officer.
In the end, the only thing left is to make sure your children are supervised while they’re playing because safety standards and regulations are only so efficient.