Category: Dirty Dozen

Equipment Not Recommended for Public Playgrounds

Accidents associated with the following types of equipment have resulted in the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommending that they not be used on public playgrounds:

  • Heavy swings such as animal figure swings
  • Multiple occupancy/glider type swings
  • Free swinging ropes that may fray or form a loop
  • Swinging exercise rings and trapeze bars

Platforms With No Guard Rails

Elevated surfaces such as platforms, ramps, and bridges should have guardrails or barriers to help prevent accidental falls.

Preschool age children are more at risk for falls; therefore equipment intended for this age group should have:

  • Guardrails on elevated platforms higher than 20 inches
  • Protective barriers on platforms higher than 30 inches Equipment intended for school-age children should have:
  • Guardrails on elevated platforms higher than 30 inches
  • Protective barriers on platforms above 48 inches

Crush, Shearing and Sharp Edge Hazards

Components in the play environment should be inspected to make sure there are no sharp edges or points that could penetrate skin. Moving components such as suspension bridges, track rides, merry-go-rounds, seesaws and swings should be checked to ensure there are no moving parts or mechanisms that might crush a child’s finger.

Lack of Maintenance

In order for playgrounds to remain in “safe” condition, a program of systematic, preventative maintenance must be present:

  • There should be no missing, broken or worn-out components
  • All hardware should be secure
  • The wood, metal or plastic should not show signs of fatigue or deterioration
  • All parts should be stable with no apparent signs of loosening
  • Surfacing material must be maintained
  • Check for signs of vandalism

Age Inappropriate Activities

Children’s developmental needs vary greatly from age two to age 12. In an effort to provide a challenging and safe play environment for all ages, it is important to make sure that the equipment in the playground setting is appropriate for the age of the intended user.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission does not recommend the following for preschool users – free-standing arch climbers, free-standing flexible climbers, chain and cable walks, fulcrum seesaws, log rolls, track rides or vertical sliding poles.