What does it mean?
Any adult knows that children often have unmatched energy. When you’re young you’re likely to be at your healthiest. Children are full of energy and enthusiasm. At this early stage in their life, they are able to determine the course of their future health by preserving the body with play.
The ‘preserving the body’ portion of our four-quadrant ‘taking play seriously’ model looks at how ensuring physical safety is an important foundation. Without physical safety coming first in playground design, there is no room for children to reap all the other benefits of a great playground. Keeping children physically safe on the playground gives them the opportunity to play, grow, and learn.
This quadrant is solely focused on the effects and importance of creating a safe space and encouraging kids to stay active.
Why is it important?
Failing to consider how one can preserve the body through the playground has the most immediate, visible effects and often lasting effects on children. If a child comes to play on a playground and is met with any form of danger, hazard, injury, or other stressful situations, they will not be able to receive any of the benefits of play.
More importantly, serious injury can cause a child physical or mental problems, for their entire lives. If their physical body is compromised or hurt on the playground at such a formative time in their life, they will always be hesitant to return. This is why we strive to design playgrounds and equipment that provide children, parents, carers, teachers, and communities the utmost safety.
Good play space design is all about balance. A playground should always be safe for a child yet still challenge and encourage them to take safe risks. This is another reason why safety is something that requires serious consideration every step of the way.
It takes expert skill to manage all unnecessary risks while still empowering children to grow and learn through safe challenges and risks while playing.
When looking for playground equipment it is imperative to look for a supplier that takes play seriously. Many people see a Standard Compliance certificate and assume it means all risk is eliminated. At adventure+, we know there are so many details beyond a certification that makes for a truly safe playground.
Who does it affect?
Kids: Reducing the risk of injury
With less risk of physical injury or safety concerns, children are able to engage in play confidently and wholly. This allows them to grow and learn while creating positive experiences that will help shape them into happier healthier, more socially adept adults. A negative experience can hold a child back and flow on to affect all aspects of their life. A negative physical experience on the playground can cause a child to feel scared, upset, left out, and not confident. Preserving the safety of a child’s body through play means simultaneously preserving their mind and thus the joys of childhood.
Parents: Peace of mind and easy supervision
Knowing a playground has been created with the most thorough safety considerations means parents can enjoy peace of mind when letting their children play. A child will benefit more from the freedom of playing with their own autonomy, direction, and imagination. A good safe playground will allow parents to supervise where necessary without the child ever feeling overburdened. This safe balance means children can truly enjoy all the benefits of good play. This is why safety is as important for parents as it is the children playing.
Schools: Fulfilling duty of care
Schools have a certain duty of care over children. When parents send their children off to school each day it is with the peace of mind that they are going into a safe, nurturing, positive environment. Not somewhere their physical safety could be unnecessarily compromised. By having safe play equipment installed in schools children are able to grow in confidence, stay active, be stimulated and learn even more through play, as well as socialise with one another on their own terms. This keeps children happier and healthier. All skills which will benefit them back in the classroom.
Community: A safe and enjoyable hub
Just as we explored when speaking about the importance of preserving the mind; having a safe and secure playground in a community will encourage people to come together, creating more unified, positive communities. A safe place for children to play together and families to frequent in a community is almost invaluable. It means that parents and carers have peace of mind and their children are safe to socialise, learn, and grow together. Like schools, councils, and communities also have a duty of care. Safety in playgrounds means happy and healthy residents. Fewer injuries mean fewer complaints from residents and thus fulfilling a duty of care to the community.
How is it achieved?
With a fundamental wealth of knowledge in the field and practical understanding of all relevant safety standards and their applications, we are able to consider safety at every step of the way through our design. This means when it comes to designing a good, safe playground, no stone is left unturned at adventure+. We follow good design principles that are tried and tested to ensure all our solutions are as safe as they can be.
Beyond the design of our equipment, the layout is just as important in determining overall safety. All our playground layouts are given serious consideration to ensure they don’t create unnecessary conflict, risk, or safety concerns.
This includes making sure children have adequate refuge areas to avoid playground overcrowding or overstimulation for some children. The utmost physical safety means providing children with areas to rest on the playground if they need to. Similarly, facilitating traffic flow is also important. Ensuring no equipment overlaps with high traffic areas and ensuring traffic can flow safely means that the risk of physical injury or hazard is considerably minimised.
All these components must then be cross considered to ensure that they comply and compliment all site specifications, environmental concerns, user groups, and all types of needs and accessibility concerns.
This is how adventure+ is taking play seriously to help preserve and protect children through physical safety.