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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Get Your Playground in Shape for the New Year

It’s a New Year, time for new changes! Add proper playground maintenance to your list of resolutions this year to ensure the health of your playground, and most importantly, the safety of the children who play there. Small changes to your playground can lead to big improvements in the overall play experience. This creates positive results that include safe, happy children, a grateful community and a lovely playground.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention each year 200,000 children are admitted into the United States emergency rooms for playground related injuries. These injuries include fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations and amputations. Proper maintenance ensures a safe play experience, protects your playground and limits liability if injuries occur.

Inspections and maintenance should be done on a regular basis: daily, weekly or monthly. Now is the perfect time to create a maintenance plan for the new year. Having a plan keeps you accountable and makes maintenance easier throughout the year.

Start small. Look for hazards that seem small but can turn into big issues in the future if not addressed. This includes broken glass, trash, vandalism, exposed tree roots and sharp rocks. These things can not only affect the look of your playground but can impede the fun for children.

Check surfacing for hazards. Make sure that surfacing is at the appropriate depth for the fall height, so that children have soft landing areas. Rubber mulch and engineered wood fiber may need to be raked back into place and refilled. Check Poured-in-Place surfacing for holes or scratches for which you will need to contact your installer for repairs.

Now for the big stuff. Carefully inspect your structure for any potential hazards that can harm the users of the playground. It is important that all equipment meets Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards. Make sure all moving parts such as trapeze rings, swings, bridges or tunnels are secured and are not an entanglement hazard for children. Deterioration can happen over time in the form of rust or corrosion on metal or cracks and breakage on plastic. When these things occur try your best to replace the parts in the affected area. If these are not addressed, it can lead to bigger issues that can be expensive to fix. Also, check for properly tightened and/or missing bolts and clamps and check all barriers and panels and replace them if necessary. Be sure to check out the CPSC Public Playground Safety Handbook for more information!

Like any resolution, its best to track and record your progress. Follow your inspection and maintenance routine by writing detailed notes of your findings. Keep a record of when issues were found and when they were repaired or replaced. Keeping a record makes maintenance even easier for the future, and keeps you covered in the event of an injury.

If you need help jumpstarting your new goal, AAA State of Play offers maintenance services that are specific to your playground needs. We have multiple Certified Playground Safety Inspectors (CPSI) on staff who can help with your maintenance. Contact us to take advantage of our maintenance care specialists.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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