Winter can be tough on outdoor playgrounds, and de-winterize your playground is an essential task to ensure that it's safe and ready for children to use again. Our team at Playground Guardian has put together some important steps to follow when de-winterize your playground.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- Inspecting the Playground Equipment
- Clean Your Playground Equipment
- Check the Ground Cover
- Check for Pests
- Check the Hardware
- Inspect the Swings
- Inspect the Slides
- Plan or Schedule Your Playground Inspection
Inspect the Playground Equipment
Before anything else, take a thorough look at all the playground equipment to check for any damage or wear and tear that may have occurred during the winter months. Check for rust, cracks, or any other signs of damage that may need to be repaired. If you're not sure what to look for, it may be best to have a professional inspection.
Common Items for Inspection on Your Playground
When inspecting your playground coming out of winter, there are several things to look for to ensure that it is safe for children to use. Here are some key areas to focus on:
Check the playground equipment for any signs of damage or wear and tear, such as cracks, rust, or missing parts. Look for any sharp edges, broken or loose connections, and any parts that are wobbly or unstable.
Look for any tripping hazards on the playground, such as uneven surfaces, loose tiles or mats, or exposed roots or rocks. Check for any debris or litter that could cause children to trip or slip.
Make sure there are no pinch points on the equipment, where children's fingers, clothing, or hair could become trapped. Check hinges, chains, and moving parts to ensure they are functioning correctly and are not loose or damaged.
Check for any entrapment hazards, such as gaps between the equipment or openings that could trap a child's head, neck, or limbs.
Ensure that there are adequate fall zones around the playground equipment. Make sure that the ground surface is soft and can absorb impact, such as mulch or rubber tiles.
Check that the playground equipment is accessible to children of all abilities. Look for any barriers, such as stairs, that could prevent children from accessing certain areas of the playground.
Evaluate the overall condition of the playground, including the ground cover, equipment, and surrounding area. Look for signs of wear and tear, vandalism, or damage to the equipment or surrounding area.
Clean Your Playground Equipment
Cleaning the playground equipment is a crucial step in making sure it's safe and hygienic for children to use. Remove any debris, leaves, or snow that may have accumulated on the equipment over the winter months. At Playground Guardian, we also offer a number of services and products for cleaning and sanitizing your playground equipment.
How to Safely Clean Your Playground Equipment
Ensuring the safety of children using commercial playground equipment requires safe cleaning practices. Following the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and maintenance is crucial to avoid damage and ensure safety. It is recommended to use a gentle cleaning solution that is safe for children and the environment, while also wearing protective gear such as gloves, goggles, and a mask. To avoid damaging the surfaces of the equipment, soft-bristled brushes, sponges, or cloths should be used. Thoroughly rinsing the equipment with clean water and allowing it to dry completely before use can prevent accidents. Regular inspection for damage or wear and tear is necessary, and replacing or repairing any damaged or broken parts is essential for maintaining safety. Adhering to these guidelines can help keep commercial playground equipment safe, healthy, and secure for children to play.
Renew by Playground Guardian
Playground Guardian offers the RENEW playground maintenance and cleaning services to give worn-out and weathered playground equipment a new lease of life. This process can restore your playground at a fraction of the cost of buying new equipment, making it a cost-effective option for those on a limited budget. By utilizing our proven playground equipment reconditioning process, your playground can look as good as new again. To see the results for yourself, contact us today!
How to Sanitize Your Playground Equipment
Playground Guardian provides playground equipment cleaning and disinfecting solutions, with Peroxigard™ chosen as their chemical surface treatment after extensive research and testing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Peroxigard™ offers numerous advantages, such as affordability, persistence, safety on most surfaces, non-toxicity, non-corrosiveness, non-irritation, and fragrance-free properties. Additionally, it is highly efficient in eliminating various viruses and bacteria, making it an ideal sanitization choice for playground equipment.
To learn more or to purchase sanitization products designed for playgrounds, visit our online store!
Check the Ground Cover
The ground cover is a critical component of your playground as it helps protect children from injuries if they fall. Check the ground cover material, such as mulch or rubber tiles, for any damage or signs of wear. Make sure the ground cover is level and that any areas that have become compacted or eroded are properly filled in.
To learn more about ground covering, be sure to read our blog on the best mulch for playground equipment!
Check for Pests
During the winter months, pests such as insects or rodents may have taken up residence in your playground. It's essential to check for any signs of pest infestation and take steps to eliminate them. If you notice any signs of infestation, contact a pest control professional to deal with the problem.
Check the Hardware
Check all the hardware, such as bolts and screws, to make sure they are tight and secure. Replace any missing or damaged hardware to ensure that the equipment is safe for children to use.
Things to Look for During a Playground Hardware Inspection
To ensure that playground equipment remains safe for children to use, it is important to inspect the hardware regularly. This involves scrutinizing metal components, such as bolts, screws, and chains, to check for signs of rust or corrosion, wear and tear, correct tightness, missing parts, and sharp edges. Conducting these inspections and carrying out necessary maintenance work can prevent any damage or issues from turning into safety hazards. By following these steps, playground equipment can be maintained in excellent condition, offering children a safe and pleasurable experience.
Inspect the Swings
Swings are a popular playground feature and should be checked carefully to ensure they are properly attached and functioning correctly.
Tips for Inspecting Playground Swings
Check the Chains
Check the chains that attach the swing to the frame for signs of wear and tear. Make sure they are not rusted, broken, or frayed. Ensure that the chains are properly attached to the swing seat and the frame.
Inspect the Seat
Check the swing seat for any cracks, splinters, or other damage that may cause injury to children. Make sure the seat is securely attached to the chains and that the chains are the appropriate length for the height of the swing.
Look for Sharp Edges
Look for any sharp edges or protruding hardware that could injure a child. Ensure that all bolts, nuts, and screws are tight and not sticking out.
Test the Swing Motion
Test the swing motion to make sure it moves smoothly and without any unusual noises. Ensure that the swing is not rubbing against any other equipment or structures.
Check the Area Around the Swing
Ensure that there is enough space around the swing for children to use it safely. Look for any hazards, such as rocks or uneven ground, that could cause a child to trip or fall.
Follow Manufacturer Guidelines
Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for maintenance and inspection of the swings. Make sure to address any issues promptly and replace any damaged parts as needed.
Inspect the Slides
Slides are another popular playground feature that should be inspected carefully coming out of winter.
Tips for Inspecting Playground Slides
Check the Surface
Look for any cracks, dents, or holes in the slide surface. Ensure that there are no sharp edges or protruding hardware that could injure a child.
Look for Wear and Tear
Check the sides of the slide for signs of wear and tear, including rust, corrosion, or fading of the paint.
Test the Slide
Test the slide to make sure it is secure and stable. Ensure that it does not wobble or move excessively. Check that the ladder or steps leading to the slide are also secure and not loose. And yes - absolutely send a colleague a picture of yourself when doing this!
Check the Landing Area
Look at the landing area at the end of the slide to ensure that it is level and free of any hazards, such as rocks or debris.
Check the Height
Ensure that the height of the slide is appropriate for the age of the children using it. Slides that are too high for younger children can be dangerous.
Follow Manufacturer Guidelines
Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for maintenance and inspection of the slide. Make sure to address any issues promptly and replace any damaged parts as needed.
Plan or Schedule Your Inspection
To ensure that your park is compliant, planning a playground inspection is a crucial first step. Creating a checklist of all equipment and areas that require inspection, including swings, slides, climbing structures, and surrounding grounds, is recommended. After completing the checklist, the next step is to schedule an appointment with Playground Guardian for the inspection. During the inspection, the inspector will conduct a thorough examination of the equipment and surrounding area, identifying any potential hazards, signs of wear and tear, or non-compliance issues. After the inspection, Playground Guardian will provide a detailed report of their findings, including recommendations for necessary repairs or upgrades. By planning and scheduling a playground inspection with Playground Guardian, you can be confident that your park meets safety standards and is a safe space for children to play.
By following these steps, you can help ensure that your playground is safe and ready for children to enjoy after the winter months. De-winterizing your playground is a critical task that should not be overlooked, and doing so will give you peace of mind that your playground is safe and ready to use.