When the winter comes, most people spend more time indoors because of the icy sidewalks, cold temperatures and shortened days. If you are responsible for commercial playground equipment, you’ll want to start preparing your park for the winter during the fall season. Even though the days are still warm and sunny, it won’t be long before the weather changes. So, enjoy the sunshine and follow these three steps for getting your playground ready for winter.
1. Inspect All Play Areas
Start your winter preparations off by inspecting the playground equipment. This will save you time and money come spring. Using a checklist so that you can check off each item as you move along is helpful, but digital playground inspection software like Park Protector by Playground Guardian can end binders and piles of paper. By using an inspection software your parks or school district can be more efficient, while saving time and money and reducing risk and liability.
Here are a few ways to maintain your playground equipment:
- Tighten bolts
- Lubricate moving metal parts
- Replace loose or missing fasteners
- Close open S-hooks on the swings
- Address broken equipment, pest damage, sharp edges, peeling paint, etc.
2. Check the Safety Surfacing
Most playground-related injuries happen when a child falls off the equipment. That’s why safety surfacing is essential. It doesn’t just make a park look friendly and inviting - it also reduces the impact of falls and the severity of injuries.
If your play area has loose fill engineered wood fiber aka “playground mulch,” make sure there is an adequate depth of fall surfacing material. The depth is determined by the critical fall height of the play equipment. Loose fill fall surfacing is easily displaced under swings and at slide runouts. Regular raking is needed for these areas. If your playground has a rubber safety surface, pay attention to any cracks or holes because the snow and ice will make them worse. If you notice these gaps, have them filled before winter.
3. Account for Ice and Snow
Commercial playgrounds may or may not be used during the winter months. However, you should remove ice and snow from play equipment when possible. People will still be using the equipment over the winter, especially on warmer days. With this in mind, have a plan to keep your park safe during periods of ice and snow.
Ice and snow can make playgrounds dangerously slippery, so they must be removed immediately. Also, assess the playground’s current drainage system. If water doesn’t drain properly, it can freeze on the playground and turn to ice. A proper drainage system will move water away from the playground.
Time to Update Your Playground Equipment? Contact Cunningham Recreation
Preparing your playground for the winter is a smart and simple way to ensure safe play year-round. You’ll also know the condition of the equipment and when it’s time to make updates. If you notice that your playground equipment is falling short, contact Cunningham Recreation for a look at our commercial equipment solutions.