Each year over 200,000 children receive emergency department care for playground related injuries. That is one child every 2 ½ minutes. Play is an essential component of healthy development in children. Playgrounds provide an opportunity for children to develop motor, cognitive, perceptual and social skills. Unfortunately, playgrounds are often the sites of unintentional injuries. It is the responsibility of adults to create play environments that are challenging for children but are also safe.
Often the greatest risks for playground injury occur when:
• playground equipment is over 5 feet tall
• there is not adequate playground surfacing
• playgrounds are not well maintained
• children are not supervised.
Playground-related injuries can be prevented by creating a SAFE playground using the four steps listed below.
Supervision: It is estimated that more than 40 percent of playground injuries are related to inadequate supervision. Adult supervision is needed to watch for potential hazards, observe, intercede and facilitate play when necessary.
Age Appropriate Design: Many injuries are a result of children playing on equipment not designed for their age. Thus, the steps or railings may be too far apart or require additional strength and coordination causing children to fall or trip. Most injuries related to age inappropriateness involve children ages 0 - 4 playing on equipment designed for children ages 5 - 12. Select age appropriate equipment and separate play areas for different age groups -- ages 2 to 5 and 5 to 12. These areas should be marked by signage indicating the age-appropriate areas.
Fall Surfacing: Statistics indicate that nearly 70 percent of all playground injuries are related to falls to the surface. Recent studies also have found that about 80 percent of playgrounds have unsuitable surfaces. Thus, an important aspect of reducing playground injuries is to provide cushioned surfaces beneath and around equipment at depths appropriate to equipment height.
Equipment Maintenance: Most maintenance of equipment involves making sure the equipment's surfaces and mechanical workings are safe. Playgrounds, whether they are old, recently installed or a just a few years old, need to be inspected. Manufacturer's recalls, warnings or updates should be observed. CPSC warnings should be taken into consideration.
Construction is fundamental to the playground industry and an important part of construction is safety. Recreation Dynamics is devoted to keeping playgrounds safe for all children. There is no need to worry when it comes to our equipment. For years, we have offered only quality and durable playgrounds that meet all safety requirements. In fact, we go above and beyond to ensure a protective environment for our children. We prove that FUN and SAFETY do go hand in hand.
The following are some useful resources as you begin the planning of your playground:
IPEMA (International Play Equipment Association) provides a Third Party Certification Service whereby a designated independent laboratory validates a manufacturer's certification conformance to the ASTM F1487-01 (excluding sections 10 and 12.6.1) Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Playground Equipment for Public Use.
To Contact IPEMA:
International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association
8300 Colesville Road, Suite 250
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Toll free: 800-395-5550
The IPEMA Certification Seal signifies that the manufacturer has received written validation from the independent laboratory that the product(s) associated with the use of the seal conforms with the requirements of ASTM F1487-01 (excluding sections 10 and 12.6.1). A list of validated products may be found at IPEMA's web site (www.ipema.org).
ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) developed the first voluntary technical standard directed specifically towards the playground industry, F1487-01.
To Contact ASTM:
American Society of Testing Materials
100 Barr Harbor DriveWest
Conshokocken, PA 19428-2959
Phone: (610) 832-9585
CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission) is an independent federal regulatory agency that was created by Congress, developing voluntary standards with industry.
To Contact CPSC:
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Washington, DC 20207
For the 10 playground safety questions everyone should ask, click here.
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