Park playgrounds and sports fields are an important part of any community. They are the places where kids gather to play and explore, compete and build confidence while parents are able to meet others and socialize. In order to get the most from these public recreational facilities, they must be safe and secure. One of the biggest issues to address is sun protection.
Because playgrounds are outdoors and most sports are also played outdoors, kids are naturally going to be exposed to the sun’s rays. Thankfully, you can significantly reduce heat and sun exposure by adding the proper shade structures. Cunningham Recreation makes this easy with our extensive line of park and playground shade structures.
Why Sun Protection at the Park or on the Playground Matters
When kids are playing outdoors, it’s important to take every step to protect them from sun damage. Too much unprotected sun can cause skin damage, eye damage, immune system suppression and skin cancer. Even one day in the sun can cause sunburn or a burned cornea.
Without adequate sun protection, sunburn can happen in just 15 minutes. A single sun burn can raise a person’s risk for skin cancer. Surely, no parent wants this for themselves or their child. While wearing sunscreen, sunglasses and a sun hat are excellent ways to reduce exposure, communities can also help out by providing shade structures.
Understanding Shade Structures and Their Benefits
Commercial shade structures are large sail-like fabric structures that protect kids and parents from the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays. They also protect playground equipment from fading and overheating. Even in moderate temperatures, playground equipment can get dangerously hot!
Here are some reasons why shade structures are crucial to your park playground or outdoor recreation space design.
- Protection from the sun. UV radiation is strongest between the hours of 10am and 4pm, also the time when playgrounds are busiest. The best shade structures block up to 97% of the sun’s harmful rays for safe outdoor fun.
- Comfort for longer visits. Without shade, people won’t be able to stay at your park very long, particularly on hot days. Between trees and shade structures, visitors should have plenty of shade to keep them comfortable.
- Keep equipment cool. Covering playground equipment and or seating prevents it from overheating on hot days. It also extends the life of the equipment because the sun’s rays aren’t able to break down the material as quickly.
Incorporating Shade Structures into Your Park, Playground and Outdoor Recreation Spaces
To create a safe and comfortable park playgrounds and outdoor recreation spaces where people want to be, shade is crucial. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to add more shade to your park or recreation space. For example, you can cover the entire playground with shade with various styles and shapes or integrate a colorful canopy into your design. Cover bleachers for spectator seating and dugouts for team members.
Umbrellas and cantilevers are also a great option if you want to protect specific areas, such as musical equipment, sandboxes or sensory play even swings and benches. For those on a limited budget, we recommend cost-effective options like benches with shade along the perimeter of the park or play area so adults and caregivers can sit and watch their children, or children can take a break from the heat. Hip roof or cantilever shades work great at athletic complexes or sports fields to cover bleachers and dugouts. To learn more about the shade structures available for your park or playground, contact Cunningham Recreation today.