Summer is a time where kids go out to play and have lots of fun. However, it is also a time of hot and humid weather, resulting in potential dangers such as harmful UV rays and overheating. Thus, playground safety has become a big concern for parents and guardians and even camp officials who receive kids most, if not every summer. It’s, therefore, your duty to ensure your commercial playground equipment is safe for use by regular inspections and maintenance.
Fortunately, there are simple things you can incorporate while building your playground to ensure a safe playground all year round. In addition, do note that these tips are based on the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSP) Public Playground Safety Handbook and ASTM F1487.
Test The Temperature of Playground Equipment
Most playground pieces of equipment are made from metal and plastic, and these materials tend to conduct and retain heat. When exposed to direct sunlight, it can get hot and result in burns and injuries to children’s tender skin, which will become uncomfortable and unbearable for them, deterring them from wanting to play on the equipment.
Outdoor playground equipment and certain playground surfaces retain heat as well. Thus, it is essential to check the temperature of specific equipment and discourage kids from playing barefooted. If you are not there to supervise the area, consider adding signs warning them of hot temperatures to the playground.
Add Shade to Your Playground.
As mentioned above, outdoor playground equipment can get hot during the summer. One way to help this is to add shade to your playground to help minimize sun exposure. Both artificial and natural shade can help to shield the equipment and kids from the sun.
Ensure Kids Are Hydrated
Hydration is essential for all, especially when exposed to sun and heat for a long time. When building a playground, consider adding a water fountain or have bottled water or water dispensers available for visitors on your playground.
Encourage Applying Sunscreen
Even if you have a shade above your playground, it won’t block out the sun completely. Using sunscreen and sunblock for kids will help to remove harmful UV rays, keeping their skins safe. It is essential to educate kids on the importance of protecting their skin from sun exposure. You can also add signs and reminders for kids and others to apply sunscreen, especially while outdoors under the sun.
Check Slides for Splits and Cracks.
At times, the sun may cause your playground equipment to crack, and cracks on outdoor playground equipment may result in injuries in kids. It is essential to have constant inspections to make sure your equipment is not loose. This will further help ensure that your playground is safe.
Lookout for Insects
While looking for cracks in your equipment, you should also look out for insects, mainly nests around the area. If you notice insects building a nest, especially on the playground, you should remove the children from the area and contact the playground operator – it might be something harmful.
Check the Weather Forecast.
While summer is filled with sun, storms are also common. It is essential to keep track of the weather forecast to avoid a sudden downpour. After a rainfall, you should also check the playground to ensure that the structure is stable and not slippery.
Contact a Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI)
Every CPSI is trained to ensure safety standards for playgrounds. You can contact a CPSI to help check that your playground is safe for use.
Summertime is always a time of bliss for children because it’s when they get to get out and have the time of their lives playing with other kids, especially on playgrounds. It behooves you to ensure that commercial playground equipment in every playground is kept safe and accessible to all kids who wish to play on them.