Playgrounds provide children with fun and healthy exercise. However, kids often get hurt while playing on playground equipment. These injuries are usually minor but sometimes serious. Most playground injuries are caused by falls. Proper surfacing under equipment is crucial to minimize the number and severity of these injuries. Avoid surfaces made from asphalt, blacktop, concrete, grass, packed dirt or rocks.
Playground equipment is often grouped into age-appropriate categories that reflect kids’ physical growth and cognitive abilities. This makes it easier for schools and child care facilities to select the best equipment based on the children in their care. It also helps keep kids engaged and happy while challenging them to grow as they play. For example, playgrounds for toddlers should include plenty of options to develop gross motor skills from crawling to walking. However, some equipment like overhead climbers is not appropriate for this group because they require a certain amount of upper body strength to use. This type of fitness equipment is better suited for grade school-aged kids.
It is also important to consider the surfacing beneath your playground equipment. Loose-fill materials can present a choking hazard for young kids, so it is better to choose unitary surfacing such as poured in place rubber or synthetic turf. Head entrapment spaces should be limited as well, and all equipment should be free of sharp points and edges that could cause snags or strangulation.
While many playground surface materials are available, only those with sufficient impact attenuation and shock absorption are safe for children to use. Loose-fill surfacing materials such as rubber mulch, engineered wood fiber (EWF), and playground sand can be unsafe for children because they are easily tracked off the site or into children’s shoes. They also require frequent replenishment to maintain proper depth and ADA compliance.
One of the best and safest surfacing options is 안전놀이터 tiles made of recycled tire rubber. These interlocking tiles meet the federally mandated Critical Fall Height requirements and are designed to last for years. They are available in multiple colors and are easy to install. They also reduce shifting, curling and gaps that can cause injuries to children. They are also a great choice for those who want to create a specific look and feel with their playground.
Supervision is the most important factor in playground safety. Almost half of playground injuries are caused by lack of supervision. Supervision should include adult guidance and organization of games and activities. It should also ensure that kids of all ages and abilities are playing together in age-appropriate areas. Playground supervisors should be well-trained and be prepared to handle all situations on the playground. They should know how to inspect equipment, observe children, intercede when necessary, and be available in case of emergencies. They should also be aware of their legal responsibilities and liability issues.
It is also a good idea to create injury and emergency protocols for playgrounds and have a cheat sheet that supervisors can refer to during emergencies. This is especially useful if the playground is used by many different people such as babysitters, parents, and daycare staff. To help supervisors stay focused, they should be positioned in ways that allow them to see all areas of the playground.
When germs are left on playground equipment, it increases the risk of catching a virus or infection. Proper cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection can reduce these risks. It’s important to keep a schedule for cleaning and inspections of outdoor playground equipment. This way, you can prevent germs from contaminating children’s hands and bodies while they play. A cleaning schedule should include routine washing and rinsing as well as incident response cleaning. Cleaning eliminates debris and lowers the microorganism count, while sanitizing kills germs and leaves surfaces safe for contact.
In addition to routine cleaning and sanitizing, it’s also a good idea to provide handwashing or sanitizing stations on the playground. These can be especially helpful in public areas where it’s hard to wash hands after using the restroom. Encourage kids to use these stations and remind them to cover coughs or sneezes and wash their hands after touching the equipment.