How to Make Your Backyard Playground Equipment Safe for Kids
Playground equipment is the main components of children’s play areas. When creating a backyard playground for your kids, ensuring the safety of these pieces of equipment such as slides, teeter totters, and swings, among many others, should be your top concern. Below, you will find practical information on how to make sure these devices will not jeopardize the safety of your little ones.
Manufacture and Material
The material used and the standard of manufacture are two of the first things that you must look into when choosing playground equipment. All play things that will go into the play area, should be safe, durable and made from non-toxic materials. They should be structurally sound, and should not contain any element that can harm your kids like pointed or sharp edges, hooks that can catch clothing, and items that can pose as tripping hazards. Slides and seesaws should have guard rails, to prevent falling or slipping. Look for equipment that has been evaluated by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
It is also important that you choose play devices that are suitable to the age of your kid. Toys for toddlers will not put older kids in danger, but younger kids playing with toys for the big boys and girls, can be asking for trouble. Choosing age-appropriate play things will not only help ensure safety, but also see to it that the toys provide enough mental stimulation and appropriate physical exercise.
Another key to safety is correct installation. Follow installation directions stringently. If you are not confident with your handy skills, it would be best to leave equipment installation to the hands of a professional. You can get assistance from the manufacturers of the equipment you bought, or from the International Playground Contractors Association.
Regular Checks and Maintenance
Have the equipment audited by a certified playground safety assessor, before having the children use it. This will determine if the equipment has been properly installed, and if it is age-appropriate for your kid. After that, do regular checks on the equipment to see it is in top condition. Check for signs of wear and tear. Do the necessary repairs and restoration immediately. Maintenance should be performed in a continuous and long-term basis.
Other Playground Safety Considerations
Aside from the play equipment, there are many others that you have to consider when putting up a playground. For one, you have to use safe flooring. A recommended option is rubber mulch material. You may also use wood chips or sand. Just see to it that the flooring is made of a material that can cushion falls and accidents. Location is another factor to look into. Pick a location suitable for the play area. Moreover, there should be ample space in between play devices, so that in the event that a child falls off from one piece of equipment, he or she will not land or bump into another. No matter how safe the playground is, never leave the children unattended.