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A playground offers a multitude of benefits for children. As well as being fun, it encourages physical activity, creativity, imagination and cooperation.
While some risk during play is essential for kids to learn how to overcome challenges and develop new skills, it’s crucial to reduce the potential for serious injuries. This is where good design comes in, as a compliant and well-designed playground allows kids to take risks within safe limits.
Here’s how to achieve this in school playgrounds.
Playground equipment must conform to Australian Standards. The standards apply to a range of factors including under-surfacing, guardrails and barriers, as well as avoidance of sharp edges and protrusions, entrapment points, trip hazards and more.
The best way to ensure play equipment is compliant is to source it through a reputable and professional playground design and installation company. Safety issues arise when schools try to build or install their own play equipment, which often doesn’t meet the standards.
Good design helps facilitate children’s development through play, while reducing the risk of overcrowding, sunburn, and injuries from falls and other mishaps. According to healthcare statistics, falls from climbing equipment are the biggest risk in playgrounds, especially for children aged 5 to 9.
Some of the factors to consider include layouts, pathways, crowding, shading, plantings, seating, and ensuring the playground is large enough to accommodate all the children at your school. It’s also important to factor in zoning for different activities, and selecting components for the various age groups in your school community.
Ongoing maintenance helps ensure your playground remains safe and usable. One of the most crucial aspects here is the under-surfacing – which must always be kept in good condition to reduce the impact of falls.
Playground maintenance tasks should be carried out regularly. A daily visual inspection is a good idea, especially for high-traffic playgrounds. A typical weekly routine could include raking over mulch, removing rubbish, and checking for equipment or under-surfacing damage.
More detailed inspections are important to check wear and tear, tighten fasteners and make sure any nets are correctly tensioned. These can be monthly or quarterly depending on need.
Your school should also have safety audits conducted on playgrounds. These can include a thorough site inspection, assessment for safety and compliance, and a written report.
Compliance, design and maintenance are equally important in reducing playground risk. Leaving any one of them out could have detrimental effects on safety.
If you would like to find out more about professional and compliant playground design, installation and maintenance, feel free to get in touch with us.