Categorized | Safety, Toddler Proofing

The ABC’s of Building A Safe Playground For Toddlers

Building a safe playground for toddlers require cautious planning and attention especially when it comes to safety issues. So before you go ahead and execute your plan, consult with an expert. Below are a few basic points you should keep in mind.

Avoid Weak Surfaces

A playground should withstand any pressure (e.g. weather conditions, kids’ weight, etc.). The safety of a playground relies on the foundation where it is being set-up. Do not build a playground in earth surfaces such as grass, soil and hard packed dirt. Asphalt and concrete surfaces should also be avoided as they are weak, tending to lose their ability to absorb shock when frequently used or during major environmental conditions which only result to serious head injury, or worse, death.

Use Flooring That Can Reduce The Effects of A Fall

First, make sure that the flooring you use can decrease the impacts of a fall. There are 2 types of flooring materials you can use – loose-filling materials and manufactured artificial surfaces.

Loose-filling materials consist of wood chips, fine sand, gravel, shredded bark mulch or rubber mulch and shredded tires. Although it is cheaper than manufactured synthetics, loose-fill materials cannot endure wet weather, freezing temperature and prolonged use. It requires regular maintenance and constant replacement to retain its depth.

Manufactured artificial surfaces include rubber mats comprised of rubber and urethane components (ideal for applications of geometric shapes and special graphics). Manufactured synthetic surface are more expensive but less maintenance is required. Plus, it also absorbs water very quickly keeping the playground dry and clean at all times.

Take note that the greater the depth, the greater the shock absorption. Be sure to ask the producer for test results on shock absorption.

Make Room For Space

Allowance is the key to having a safe playground. Always make room for more space. Hence, the floor should extend to over 6 feet past the play area. If the fort is over 4 feet, it would be a good idea to not leave the guard rails open. Make sure you keep them close together to prevent your toddler from getting his head trapped in between the rails. See to it that the railings are above 38 inches and most of all, ensure that there is adequate space that can grow as your toddler grows.

Create A Cushion Zone

A cushion or buffer zone is an area that lies between two or more other areas that is used either for adjoining or segregating. Use a cushion zone plastered with a protective surfacing material under and around all the equipment where a toddler might fall. It must be able to extend to at least 6 feet in all directions starting from the edge of the equipment. Make sure this area needs to be free of other equipments and barriers.

Attach Swing Sets Securely With Proper Spacing

The front and back of the swing should be big, one that extends out a minimum distance of twice the height of the swing (measured from the ground to the swing hangers). Swings should not be too close together to avoid injuries from the collision of moving swings. Spacing should be a minimum of 8 inches between swings, 8 inches from the support frame and 8 inches between the ground and base of the swings.

Divide The Playground Into Different Areas

To avoid collision, separate the playground into areas. Reserve a spot where toddlers can play in sandboxes or engage in various activities, an area for sliding and swinging and an area where toddlers can play house.

Keep in mind that no matter how safe a playground is, adult supervision is still crucial. While you may not totally stop things from happening, at least you are assured that your toddler can play freely without constantly worrying so much.

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August 2019
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