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Concrete, asphalt, and blacktop are unsafe and unacceptable. Grass, soil, and packed-earth surfaces are also unsafe because weather and wear can reduce their capacities to cushion a child’s fall.
Design and Spacing
- Playground 안전놀이터 equipment should be designed for three different age groups: infants and toddlers under 2, 2- to 5-year-olds (preschoolers), and 5- to 12-year-olds (school-age kids).
- In the safest playgrounds, play areas for younger children are separated from those meant for older kids and signs clearly designate each area to prevent confusion.
- Younger children should not play on equipment designed for older kids because the equipment sizes and proportions won’t be right for small kids, and this can lead to injury. Likewise, older kids shouldn’t play on equipment designed for younger ones. Smaller equipment and spaces can cause problems for bigger kids.
- Guardrails and protective barriers should be in place for elevated surfaces, including platforms and ramps.
- Play structures more than 30 inches high should be spaced at least 9 feet apart.
- Swings, seesaws, and other equipment with moving parts should be located in an area separate from the rest of the playground.
Swings should be limited to two per bay.
- Tot swings with full bucket seats should have their own bay.
- Swings should be spaced at least 24 inches apart and 30 inches between a swing and the support frame.
- Be sure there are no spaces that could trap a child’s head, arm, or any other body part. All openings on equipment (for example, rungs on a ladder or bars on a guardrail) should measure less than 3½ inches or they should be wider than 9 inches.
- Climbing nets should have openings that are either too small to allow a child’s body through or large enough to prevent entrapment of the head. Net perimeters which are 17-18 inches pose entrapment hazards.
- Playground equipment with moving parts — like seesaws and merry-go-rounds — should be checked for pinch points that could pinch or crush a child’s finger or hand.
Maintenance and Inspection
Whether your kids play on a home or public playground, it’s important for you to take a general look at the equipment to make sure that it is clean and well maintained.