According to an October 2009 report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 51% of all playground injuries occurred on a public playground. OneBeacon Government Risks wants to ensure you are aware of all the hidden hazards and are ready for risks that come with having a playground on your public entity’s property.
Below are six things to keep in mind as summer quickly approaches:
A national survey of 760 playgrounds revealed that 87% lacked adequate protective surfaces and included rocks, grass, gravel, cement, brick and stone. The majority of significant injuries are from falls to the surface. To ensure your playground is up to code, use an appropriate surface such as rubber mats or loose fill. By including proper surfaces, the seriousness of an injury can decrease significantly. Although, keep in mind that no surface or playground is injury proof. For more information on appropriate surfaces see the CPSC Public Playground Safety Handbook.
Signs should be posted that adult supervision is needed at all times. Due to the fact that playgrounds are a risk inviting area, children do not always know which equipment is age appropriate. It is also important to have adults on hand in case of an accident.
As stated above, proper signs can not only reduce risk, but also improve use of equipment and combat liability. Signs should also be posted to warn of hot surfaces, hazards if play equipment is located above a hard surface, and for removal of helmets or accessories around the neck that may cause choking hazards if caught in a piece of equipment.
For areas that are high off the ground, consider installing railings to provide barriers from falling. If your playground already has side-rails installed in those areas it is important to maintain and replace them when necessary. Check for loose screws and bolts, missing or damaged pieces and rust.
Protections from the sun and equipment burns are two necessary reasons to provide extra shade at your community’s playground. Canopies over play equipment can help significantly reduce the possibility of users receiving burns from overheated equipment. Additionally, planting extra trees in the area can provide kids and spectators protection from excess sun.
- Safety & Risk:
Although difficult, it is important when designing your playground to find the balance between safety and risk. You cannot completely eliminate risk from the playground because they are meant for children to test their limits and muscles, build confidence and even learn personal interaction. The five tips above will ensure safety eliminates the unnecessary risks. For more tips and ideas on how you can ensure your playground is ready for summer in the sun, download: Playing Safe: Hidden Hazards Lurking in School Yards and Parks
To learn more about how OneBeacon Government Risks can help you manage risks, please contact us at OBGRRiskControl@onebeacongov.com.