If you’re planning on installing a new playground, you may be wondering if you need to install a fence around it, just like you would with a pool. Today we’re taking a look at whether or not you need a playground fence, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of installing one.
So, Do I Need a Playground Fence?
To answer this question, first you’ll need to check with local authorities to see what laws and codes are in place in your area. In addition to requiring a fence, some municipalities may specify additional height or material requirements. If your local codes mandate playground fences, you’ll need to install one before or during the installation of your playground equipment.
However, many authorities leave the decision to add a fence up to the property owner. If the choice is yours, keep reading to check out some of the pros and cons of installing a playground fence.
The Benefits of a Playground Fence
There are a number of positive reasons to install a fence around your playground area. Here are a few to consider.
Protection from Wildlife
A properly-installed, solid fence will prevent wildlife from entering your playground space. This can reduce the chance of injury from animal bites. And, it can eliminate issues with animals digging holes in the ground or in your playground surface.
Safety from Traffic
Fencing in your playground can also provide protection from traffic on nearby roads. A fence will prevent balls and other toys from rolling in the road and will help avoid accidents and injuries from vehicles.
Assistance With Supervision
Having a fence around your playground can also assist with supervision. It limits the area that needs to be supervised so the adult can focus their efforts on a smaller space.
Prevention of Graffiti & Intentional Damage
A playground fence can also provide a visual barrier to teens and adults looking for trouble. While most playground fences aren’t padlocked, the physical barrier they provide can discourage bad decision making.
Protection from Weather & Hazards
Depending on the style, your fence may offer some protection from severe weather and other hazards. It can help control water in the case of a flood and limit tree branches and trash from being blown onto your playground surface in the case of heavy winds. And, it can help keep loose-fill surfaces in.
If you ever need to close your playground due to damage, injury, or inclement weather, having a fence makes it incredibly easy. Simply add a padlock to your gate until you are ready to re-open.
Finally, fencing can improve the visual appearance of your playground. It can make your playground appear safer and better-kept, encouraging families to spend more time there.
The Drawbacks of a Playground Fence
While there are a number of positives to installing a fence around your playground, there are also a few drawbacks to consider.
The major drawback to installing playground fencing is that it costs money. Especially if you’re looking for a high-quality wood or vinyl fence, you’ll likely pay between $2,000-$10,000. The good news is that many fencing companies offer financing to help you pay for your investment.
If you own or operate a commercial playground, adding a fence can make your playground feel less approachable. If you wish to add a lock to your playground gate, you’ll need to create a process for unlocking and relocking your playground each day. Or, if your playground is not open to the public, you may need to distribute keys or cards to help those welcome get access.
False Sense of Security
While installing a playground fence can help make supervision easier, it can also provide a false sense of security. Many parents may feel that because there is a fence, they can simply stand by the exit and their child will be safe. If you opt to fence in your playground, be sure to post signage about appropriate, active supervision. And, provide necessary training to teachers or other official playground supervisors.
Finally, playground fencing can be dangerous in the case of an emergency. While uncommon, severe weather events, fires, and even active shooting situations do happen. Having a single entrance and exit to your playground can cause additional danger and distress in these situations. Always discuss safety and emergency protocols with the children who use your playground. And, be sure to install a latch at an accessible height for children in case of emergency.