A playground is an ideal place for children to run, play and interact with their peers. However, you also want to make sure that you properly maintain your playground and keep it safe. If you don’t take these precautions and someone gets hurt, it will drive negative attention toward your playground.
As playground experts, here are some of our best tips for keeping your playground safe throughout the year.
The best way to know what’s going on with your playground is by performing routine safety inspections on the equipment. There are third-party companies that provide these services such as Playground Guardian. With a team of Certified Playground Safety Inspectors (CPSI) on staff, the company will tailor an inspection and maintenance program that fits your playground needs.
Playground Guardian also offers playground inspection software, Park Protector, that allows users to manage, monitor and inspect any neighborhood, municipal or school playground from any computer or mobile device. This is a great way to stay on top of safety inspections, maintenance, work orders for repair and more with your playground, especially if you have more than one to maintain. Park Protector is user friendly and saves your department time, money and helps mitigate risk.
Surface Impact Testing
Your safety surfacing is only as dependable and reliable as the condition it's in. This is why testing is crucial.
Impact attenuation is the measure of the surface’s shock absorbing properties. To perform this test, an instrumented metal headform is dropped onto the surfacing and its force of impact is recorded. If there’s not enough shock absorbing material, it will need to be topped off with more wood chips or rubber mulch.
Another way to ensure the safety of your playground design is by making sure the hardware is properly secured. All handrails and barriers should be present and secure, and nothing should be loose or insecurely fastened to the ground.
Some of the areas to pay special attention to include:
- Moving parts. Check and lubricate (as needed) all moving parts such as swing seats, swing hangers, S-hooks, eyebolts, ropes, chains, spring clips, etc.
- Hardware. Check and tighten all nuts and bolts. Be sure not to over-tighten them, as this can cause the material to crack.
- Metal parts. Metal can rust over time due to outdoor conditions. When this happens, it can often be sanded down and repainted with a paint used specifically for coating metal.
- Wooden parts and beams. Look for deterioration and splinters in the wood. Spot sand these areas - they pose no threat to the structural integrity of the equipment. However, deep cracks, splinters and broken pieces should be replaced.
These are just some of the ways that you can keep your playground equipment safe. To help you out, be sure to hire a professional inspection company and/or invest in playground inspection software. This will make it easier to care for your playgrounds no matter where you are!