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5 Things to Avoid When Creating a New Playground

Posted
Tue, 11/12/2019 - 8:40am
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3 weeks ago
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Whether you’re building a playground for private or public use, you need to be thorough in your planning to make sure things are safe and fun. Great playgrounds add a lot to homes and communities, but there are some legal concerns about how things are built. You want to make sure you do what’s possible to prevent injuries to children or anyone else who uses the equipment. 

It’s not always possible to avoid injuries. Some kids just fall and have accidents. However, there are things you can integrate into playground design that make it as safe an environment as possible. A good build strategy can help make your playground a place that families can enjoy for years. Here are five things to avoid in playground builds that will make things a success. 

Limit the Impact of Falls

According to the U.S. government, falls are the number one cause of playground-related injuries in the States. Kids are jumping off high structures, running at fast speeds, and climbing through obstacles. Falls are bound to happen. 

To limit the impact of falls, avoid building a new playground on hard surfaces. Most playgrounds you see nowadays have rubber or mulch surfaces underneath them to lessen the blow of a fall. Even though it might look beautiful, avoid building a playground on hard natural stone surfaces like this granite, because it is dangerous. Falls on stone surfaces can lead to serious injury or even be fatal. Save the high-quality natural stones for interior design. Leave them out of playground construction. 

Get Rid of Sharp Corners

In the old days, safety standards weren’t what they are today. Children played on rusty swings and everyone knew where the loose nails were. Today, however, designers spend a lot of time building playgrounds without sharp corners or edges that can cut. Most playground structures have rounded edges that are safer for full-contact playing. Children can run into them at high speeds without worrying about jabbing or cutting themselves. Parents can rest easy knowing nothing sharp is going to poke their little ones. 

Choose Plastic Materials Over Metal

Modern playground construction has a lot more plastic involved than in the past. Indeed, when you build a playground, you should avoid metal as much as possible. That’s impossible in some instances, like with swing sets or monkey bars, but plastic is surprisingly resilient. You see fewer metal slides than in years before. That’s good news for kids and parents. No one’s sitting down on a metal slide that’s been cooking under the hot sun for hours. 

Avoiding metal as much as possible also lessens the impact of falls or other impacts. Plastic absorbs force much softer than metal, so there is less chance of injury. Plastic also doesn’t rust and is easier to maintain. One of the great things about plastic is that you also have more room to customize with color and shapes. Plastic can be molded into whatever you want, so you’re only limited by your imagination!

Avoid Building Too High Without Safety Measures

If you want to build a multi-story playground with ladders and outlooks, then you need to make sure that safety measures are foolproof. You’d be surprised at the ingenuity of some children to get around barriers and nets to climb on playground exteriors. We’ve all seen the kids who love to climb up the outside of tube slides. The problem is that, if a child were to fall, then you’d likely be facing some legal liability. 

If you build vertically, you have to make sure that there are proper safeguards in place to prevent children from accessing the playground exterior. Durable netting is a great option, and playground designers are designing structures in a way that makes it very difficult to get outside the structure. 

Avoid Going Too Long without Upkeep

If you build a playground, you have to commit to its upkeep. Regular maintenance on a play area, whether it’s on private or public property, ensures that it’s safe to use and lowers the chances someone gets hurt. 

Playground maintenance includes making sure there are enough mulch or rubber chips on the ground to cushion falls. It also means occasional cleanings to prevent the spread of bacteria. You’ll want to check your playground to make sure no bees or other insects are setting up nests in the area. Additionally, stress test the structure to see if it can still stand the weight of daily use by children and adults. 

Building a playground is great fun. Done right, it can be a quality attraction for children and families in the area. With proper planning and attention to detail, playground construction can avoid errors that might lead to injury. These tips are just the start of making the playground of your dreams.

April Brooks is a writer and an editor. She is from Bergen County in New Jersey and she graduated from Montclair State University in 2014 with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. She enjoys...

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