I always wonder when I visit playgrounds whether or not they are safe (I’m talking about the equipment here, not the neighborhood surrounding the park). I assume that the newer playgrounds being built have some sort of standards that have to be met. But what about the old equipment? What about those old dumpy playgrounds with metal slides and monkey bars that are reminiscent of my childhood days growing up in the 80s. I grew up in Texas where it gets hot, hot, hot, so I remember those metal slides. They were hot and dangerous!
There are, in fact, safety standards for playground equipment. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission deals with it and here is a checklist to make sure that your playground is a safe place to play!
Public Playground Safety Checklist
- Make sure surfaces around playground equipment have at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand, or pea gravel, or are mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials.
- Check that protective surfacing extends at least 6 feet in all directions from play equipment. For swings, be sure surfacing extends, in back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar.
- Make sure play structures more than 30 inches high are spaced at least 9 feet apart.
- Check for dangerous hardware, like open “S” hooks or protruding bolt ends.
- Make sure spaces that could trap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs, measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.
- Check for sharp points or edges in equipment.
- Look out for tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.
- Make sure elevated surfaces, like platforms and ramps, have guardrails to prevent falls.
- Check playgrounds regularly to see that equipment and surfacing are in good condition.
- Carefully supervise children on playgrounds to make sure they’re safe.
Well, I know that many of the playgrounds in Atlanta don’t seem to be up to standard, and I will try to address some of these issues, but keep your eyes out too for your little one! We don’t want them to be one of those kids that get hurt!!!