Last month we observed National Playground Safety Week. While most people picture playgrounds being in schoolyards or parks … a playground is anywhere there is play equipment, including apartment complexes. Regardless of where a playground is located, maintaining safety is key.
When a playground is installed at a multi-family community, management companies add value to their investment as well as value for residents by providing children a safe, fun place to play. While it may seem daunting to keep the playspace functioning and safe, by following a few simple steps, they are easy to maintain.
Once installed, it is important to get your maintenance staff on board and talk with your playground equipment provider about conducting playground safety audits.
Routine walk-throughs of the playground are keys to keeping play safe for everyone. Identifying potential issues early can help users avoid injuries and save time later from more costly repairs and keep your playground functioning. No child or parent wants to see yellow caution tape around the playground in their housing complex.
Top tier playground manufacturers design and build play equipment to comply with important regulations. Some of the main hazards that the safety regulations address include:
- Sharp points, corners and edges
- Wood parts
- Metal surfaces
- Head entrapment
- Tripping hazards
- Crush and shear points
- Maintenance installation
- Maximum fall heights
- General cables, wires and ropes
A playground audit guide offers a step-by-step checklist for various playground component categories, including:
- Stairs and ladders
- Climbing and upper body equipment
- Rotating and rocking equipment
Surfacing is key to providing a safe play environment. Knowing what your equipment fall height is—the highest point on the playground from which a child could potentially climb and fall – is essential. For example, a playground with a six-foot (1,83m) fall height would require a minimum of six inches of uncompressed engineered wood fibers (EWF), which looks like mulch. However, over time, EWF gets displaced and compacts, which no longer protects falls from 6’. Regular maintenance is required to rake and add more EWF as needed. There are several types of surfacing available that your playground equipment representative can show and help you select what’s right for your playspace.
In addition to regular checkups on surfacing, a walk-through of your playground to make sure your hardware is safe and tight is a must do for any maintenance supervisor. During heavy use times of the year, once a month is recommended, and during the slower use periods, every three months.
We’re here to help, too. Get in touch with one of our local Playworld representatives for more information about safe play in your community.