Who doesn’t love a playground?
As centers of exercise, fitness, and good old-fashioned fun, playgrounds are a beloved classic that is here to stay. With all the fun and excitement, however, playgrounds are also a real source of potential danger.
Each year, over 550,000 playground-related injuries are treated in emergency rooms across the country. Every day, more than 1,500 children head straight from the playground to the emergency room. And that’s not even counting the hundreds of thousands of milder injuries that don’t get sent to the hospital!
How can you make sure that your children don’t become part of these statistics? Happily, it’s not that difficult to create playgrounds that are fun and safe. Follow these ten simple rules to ensure that your children enjoy a fun, safe, and responsible playground.
1) Surfacing- The number one cause for playground injuries, accounting for 70% of all playground-related accidents, is falls from high areas. It is therefore imperative that safety surfacing of appropriate depth (generally 12 inches) be installed all around the area. The most shock-absorbent materials include rubber mulch and mats; wood mulch, sand, and pea gravel are also acceptable choices.
2) Extension of surfacing- Aside from the proper depth, care should be taken that safety surfacing extends far enough in all directions to absorb falls from high equipment. Safety surfacing should extend at least 6 feet in every direction, as well as twice the length of the suspending bar for swings.
3) Spacing- Since playgrounds see a lot of traffic comprised of children who are often too engrossed to pay attention 안전놀이터 to others around them, proper spacing of playground equipment is paramount. A distance of 9 feet should be allowed between different types of playground equipment, with extra area allowed for swings.
4) Tripping hazards- Be sure that the entire playground area is free of obstructions which could become potential tripping hazards. Surface-retaining borders should be clearly recognizable, and optimally, painted in bright colors.
5) Sharp points- All playground equipment should be checked for sharp points and edges.
6) Dangerous hardware- In keeping with the above, hardware should be safe and padded. Nails or “S” hooks should be either entirely embedded or padded securely.
7) Guardrails- Stairs, platforms, and ramps should be equipped with sturdy, splinter-free handrails. Rails should be of the appropriate height for the children to whom the playground is geared.
8) Spaces- Several areas in the playground present the possibility of children becoming trapped in narrow openings. All openings and passageways should be either larger than 9 inches, or smaller than 3.5 inches to forestall this problem.
9) Maintenance- Even the most carefully-constructed playground can become hazardous when it is not properly maintained. Periodic inspections of all equipment are imperative–the natural wear and tear on playgrounds is inevitable, and must be handled accordingly.
10) Supervision- Finally, there is no replacement for adult supervision at all times that children use the playground facilities. With foresight in the construction and daily supervision, your children are sure to enjoy the playground facilities for years to come!
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