Kids are naturally adventurous. But when they climb, swing and slide, they can also fall — and sometimes seriously injure themselves. Safe playgrounds help prevent these injuries by providing age-appropriate equipment and proper surfacing under and around equipment. Close supervision by a responsible adult also helps. But even the best equipment and surface can’t eliminate all playground hazards.
The ground beneath playground equipment is a crucial component of safety. Kids aren’t always aware of their own physical limitations and can take some pretty hard falls, so it’s important to have a surface that absorbs as much impact as possible. While there isn’t a legal requirement to provide protective surfacing in playgrounds, the majority of major safety organisations (RoSPA, BSI, NPFA and CAPT) recommend it. There are two main types of playground surfacing – loose-fill and unitary. Loose-fill options such as engineered wood fiber and rubber mulch offer an inexpensive upfront cost but will disintegrate and require frequent refilling whereas unitary surfaces such as bonded rubber are more expensive but can last for longer.
Bonded rubber is a popular choice for school playgrounds, offering an attractive and seamless surface that provides good accessibility and impact attenuation. This option is made from clean, shredded recycled rubber and has the added benefit of being environmentally responsible.
Children need age-appropriate equipment in playgrounds because their physical, cognitive and social development varies from one stage to the next. Equipment that is not designed for their size and developmental level can cause injuries. Children who are frustrated by equipment that is too hard for them may lose interest in the playground altogether. Toddlers need equipment that is low to the ground and has soft or foam-covered exteriors. This equipment helps them develop gross motor skills as they transition from crawling to walking. They also need plenty of climbing equipment, which can help them improve depth perception and build strength.
When selecting equipment, look for equipment that is designed with safety in mind and has been tested to CSA or TUV SUD America standards. Ensure that there are no spaces that could trap children, such as openings between ladder rungs or gaps in guardrails. Also check that protective ground surfacing around equipment covers an area of 12 feet and is made from impact-absorbing materials such as wood chips, sand or safety-tested rubber.
A 안전놀이터 is only as safe as the adults who supervise kids while they play. Approximately 40% of playground injuries are thought to be related to inadequate supervision. Kids are impulsive and may not be aware of distance, so adult supervision is important to ensure that they don’t get too close to equipment or other kids. Active, unobtrusive supervision is key to keeping kids safe on the playground. Supervisors should be alert and know safe playground rules, intercede when appropriate, and be available in case of emergencies.
Be sure to remove visual barriers and position adults for optimum viewing of children from all directions. Check that surfaces around equipment have adequate impact-absorbing materials and that spaces that could trap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs, measure less than 3.5 inches. Also, make sure to report any unsafe equipment or ground conditions to the people who operate the playground. This will allow them to address the problem promptly.
Playgrounds can be a great way to get kids active and burn off energy. However, playgrounds can also be dangerous if they aren’t equipped with safe equipment and safe surfaces. Falls are the most common cause of playground injuries, and they can be prevented with adequate surfacing and supervision. Look for a playground with an impact-absorbing surface, like wood fiber rubber mulch or a factory-made resilient surface. Make sure there are no gaps or openings that children could fall through, and check for tripping hazards, such as exposed concrete footings or tree stumps.
Supervision is a vital part of playground safety, and the supervisor should be able to see all children at all times. If a supervisor can’t see a child, they should leave the playground immediately and report the problem. Also, the playground should be free of any garbage, animal droppings or glass. Regular outdoor inspections help prevent deterioration of equipment and can catch problems like pools of water or hazardous materials.
Children need to play outside, especially on playgrounds where they can get fresh air and exercise while socializing with friends. But faulty equipment and unsafe surfaces can cause injuries. Make sure that all equipment is age-appropriate. Check that there is suitable ‘impact attenuating surfacing’ beneath and around all equipment, rather than asphalt or concrete which can cause serious injuries to children when they fall.