Each year, more than 200,000 injuries happen on playgrounds. Safe Kids Delaware has been a proud supporter of the Delaware Recreation and Parks Society's (DRPS) Playground Safety Inspector Course, which internationally certifies graduates in playground safety, audits and inspections. Safe Kids can help you locate a certified inspector near you. If you suspect a playground is unsafe or is not maintained appropriately an inspector can identify the hazards, document them and guide the owner to bring the playground up to current safety standards.
Search the National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA) Certified Playground Safety Inspector Registry here for a list of Delaware certified playground inspectors: http://www.nrpa.org/CPSI_registry/default.aspx
Playground Safety YouTube video
The Top 5 Things Every Parent Should Know About Playground Safety
*from the NRPA
- Check the surfacing material beneath the equipment to ensure it is acceptable.
Acceptable surfaces include things such as wood fiber and wood chips, sand, pea gravel, synthetic and rubber tiles, poured-in-place rubber, shredded rubber and mats. Loose surfacing such as wood chips should be at a depth of 12 inches and be freestanding of water and debris. Unacceptable surfaces include concrete, blacktop, packed earth and grass.
- Check the temperature of equipment surfaces.
Playing in the sun is glorious, but younger children often don’t have the reflexes to pull back from hot surfaces before an injury occurs. Be sure to check playground equipment such as metal decks, slides and steps before allowing young children access. In addition, proper footwear can serve as good protection for feet.
- Be observant of the conditions of the playground.
Red flags include things such as missing, broken or worn out components; fatigued or deteriorated metal, wood and plastic; and vandalism or graffiti. All parts of equipment should be stable with no signs of loosening, and surfacing material should be maintained.
- Supervision and proper clothing can reduce risk.
Young children are constantly challenging their own abilities and often are not able to recognize potential hazards. Parents and caregivers should observe children at play at all times to reduce the possibility of accidents. Special attention should also be paid to a child’s clothing, as drawstrings and jewelry can become entangled in equipment and protruding hardware, and can cause death by strangulation.
- Ensure the equipment is age-appropriate.
It is important to make sure that playground equipment is appropriate for the age of the user. Equipment not recommended for preschoolers includes free-standing arch climbers and flexible climbers, chain and cable walks, fulcrum seesaws, log rolls, track rides and vertical sliding pools.
Want to make sure your playground is a safe one?
Review the NRPA’s Dirty Dozen checklist found here: http://www.nrpa.org/uploadedFiles/nrpa.org/Professional_Development/Certification/CPSI/Dirty-Dozen-Playground-Hazards.pdf
International Playground Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) - www.ipema.org
American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM)- www.astm.org
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) – www.cpsc.gov