Approximately 200,000 children are treated annually due to playground-related injuries. Roughly 75 percent of injuries are related to public playgrounds while the other 25% are associated to residential playgrounds. Playgrounds also contribute to the death of about 15 children annually. Clearly, there is a dire need to focus on measures to ensure playground safety.
Most of the injuries reported are due to a fall, whether it is from the equipment to the ground or from one playground equipment to another. Most of the deaths are caused by strangulation while others are related to falls.
Protective Playground Surfacing.
Protective surface is a crucial component to any playground. Most of the public playgrounds are usually surfaced with a shock absorbing material which reduces impact of falls. The protective surfacing is not always employed at residential playgrounds with research showing that only 9% of home playgrounds have a form of protective surfacing while their public counterparts have employed the surface to about 80% of all the playgrounds.
The research according to CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission) showed that the roughly 50,000 injuries related to residential playgrounds are a result of lacking a protective surface. Home playgrounds usually sit on concrete or grass which risks serious head injuries in the event of a fall. You must be sure to always use a protective surfacing material on both the public and home playgrounds to improve the safety of your children, thus preventing serious injuries.
Proper Height of Playgrounds.
Perhaps the most important aspect regarding playgrounds is the critical height at which head injuries are less likely to be expected in the event of a fall. The critical height is simply the height of the uppermost part of playground equipment that is accessible to children. This critical height will also determine the depth of the surfacing material to be installed to prevent the occurrence of life severe injuries due to falls.
Proper Swing Spacing.
Maintaining the required spacing in between swings is very important in preventing impact while moving. Swings should not be close to each other or close to support materials. The spacing should be:
· Eight inches should be the least spacing distance in between swing and support materials and between a swing and another.
· The minimum distance is sixteen inches in between suing support frame to a pendulum see-saw.
· The minimum clearance distance between a swing and the ground should be eight inches.
The proper swing spacing is essential in preventing collisions thus ensuring safety of your children in the playground.
Employ Use Zones.
Use zones are covered with protective surfacing materials are very essential under and around any equipment that a child might fall. Climbing equipment and slides should have the safe zones of around six inches extending all directions on the equipment. Use zones should also be employed on swings to improve safety of your children whether at home or public playgrounds.
Maintenance of Playgrounds.
As much as we employ other playground safety measures, maintenance should be a regular occurrence. Inspect all the materials such as protective surfacing to ensure they maintain the proper depth. If any conditions that require repair are noted, they should be removed corrected or repaired immediately to prevent any form of injuries. The most common equipment requiring maintenance include:
· Loose or worn out protrusion or projections.
· Exposed equipment footings
· Damaged or missing equipment components like guardrails, swings and handholds.
· Litter, rocks and scattered debris.
Apart from the above mentioned safety measures, the parent or guardians should ensure careful supervision of their children while they are playing. This will help avert shoving, pushing and fighting. Safety of children while playing is as result of a combined effort and the stated steps should be taken to ensure that there are no serious injuries.
For more information on playground safety, one should refer to the CPSC handbook for Public playground safety. There are also other documents like CPSC Document #323. Home Playground Safety tips, CPSC Document #324 outdoor Home Playground Safety Handbook and CPSC Report Special Study: Injuries and Deaths Associated with Children’s.
Playground Equipment Salt Lake City
Here at Component Playgrounds we provide safety and security for your children out on the playground and you can order our playground equipment locally in Salt Lake City or we ship nationally (for free if you place your order online). For parents, safety of your child comes first, and we offer equipment from swing sets to other outdoor playground equipment that are manufactured to precision offering safety like no other.