A playground can provide fun and enjoyment for children of all ages. But it can also become a liability for businesses, neighborhoods, and organizations if not maintained properly.
Regular playground inspections are the best way to keep your equipment in working order and keep children at play healthy and safe. In addition to inspections by a licensed professional (or with an easy-to-use app like Park Protector), here are seven playground safety tips to keep things operating smoothly.
1. Post Playground Rules Prominently
Every playground needs a simple but effective set of rules. While your rules will depend on your specific location and equipment, here are a few universal ideas to get you started:
● All children at play must be supervised by an adult
● The playground is closed from dusk until dawn
● Don’t play on equipment when wet
● No running, pushing, or rough play
● Closed-toe shoes are required
● No balls or sports equipment allowed on the playground
Prominently posting these rules will remind parents and teachers to review playground safety procedures with the children who use your equipment.
2. Encourage Active Supervision
Active supervision from parents, teachers, or adults-in-charge is one of the best defenses against incidents and injuries on the playground. Provide adults with a comfortable place to sit where they can see the entire playground and monitor children at play.
3. Maintain Your Playground Surfacing
Surfacing is often overlooked as a major playground safety component. Low areas can contribute to injuries in fall zones at the exits of slides or under swings. Loose-fill materials that aren’t properly maintained can easily hide hazards like sticks or trash.
As part of your regular playground inspection with Park Protector, check the minimum depths of your loose-fill surfacing and top it up as needed. If you have a unitary surface, you’ll need to check for any loose areas, missing pieces, and overall damage.
4. Choose Age-Appropriate Equipment
Because children’s motor skills develop so rapidly, many elements appropriate for elementary school students may not be appropriate for children under age five.
When possible, provide a separate play space with lower platforms and less physically-challenging equipment. If two play areas are not possible, consider signage explaining the ages recommended for your playground equipment.
5. Have a Protocol for Reporting Hazards & Damage
Unless you’re able to inspect your playground daily, chances are it will be children, parents, and teachers who find playground hazards first. Avoid future incidents and injuries by creating a protocol with an easy contact method for reporting hazards found on your playground equipment. Once a hazard is reported, you can inspect and repair the equipment quickly to keep your playground in tip-top shape.
A tool like Park Protector can make this process hassle-free, with work orders and issue reporting available at the touch of a button.
6. Encourage Appropriate Dress for Play
Loose clothing, drawstrings, and jewelry can all become dangerous when worn while at play on playground equipment. Consider the setting of your playground and post and enforce relevant rules when it comes to safe attire for play. Shoes should always be worn when playing at a park or playground, and bicycle helmets should always be removed before playing on the playground equipment.
7. Inspect Your Playground Regularly
Regular inspection is key when it comes to keeping your playground safe and in working order. While it may seem like an additional expense, without inspection your playground can quickly fall into disrepair, forcing you to close your equipment until it can be fixed or updated.
If you’re interested in inspecting and maintaining your playground yourself, you can use an app like Park Protector that will walk you and/or your maintenance team through all necessary points of inspection.
Ready to get started with inspecting your playground? Get a free trial of Park Protector and start managing your playground more efficiently today.