Safety is always the highest concern when you are designing a playground. Whether you are working on a project for a housing community or church, you have a tremendous responsibility to make sure that everyone who visits is left with nothing but amazing memories. While purchasing durable playground equipment for kids is essential for keeping everyone safe, you should also remember a few more best practices for designing a play area or park.
Assess the Environmental Conditions
The first step towards designing a safer playground is to carefully address any environmental concerns. For instance, playgrounds should be located away from traffic and other potential dangers to children. If not, then you may need to put a fence around it to serve as a safety barrier. You should also plan to provide adequate shade for families if the sun shines very brightly on the playground. Correcting environmental concerns allows families to play longer without having to worry about sunburns.
Separate Age Groups
Younger children such as toddlers should be free to play without worrying about being trampled by older kids or adults. As a general rule, most playground structures and equipment have age ratings that range from two to five to those meant for children five to 12 years of age. You can also find equipment that is designed for older teens and adults such as freestanding workout stations. Including equipment that is designed for all of the ages is the best way to encourage diversity in the play area, but they should also be placed in different locations so that everyone can play safely.
Zone for Activities
In addition to planning for age groups, you should also remember to use strategic zoning to avoid injuries inflicted on kids as they engage in activities. For instance, moving playground equipment such as commercial swings should be located off to the side of the playground where there is less traffic so that kids are not as likely to get hit by running in front of one. Slides should exit in areas of the playground that are not congested so that children are not accidentally knocked over by someone coming down.
Choose the Right Safety Surfacing
Once you select the playground equipment, you need to carefully assess which components need to be protected by a fall zone. Your playground designer should be able to show you the fall-zone needed for your specific playground design.Typically, any area on the playground, plus 6' around all components requires safety surfacing underneath.
Designing a safer playground requires you to think about every possible factor that affects the people who come to the play space. While you may not be able to think of every possible contingency, minimizing common playground hazards helps your play space stand out as being one of the safest playgrounds in the community.