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Keep Kids Safe on Play Structures!

Date Published: May, 21 2013

Playground Structure Safety is one of the most important components of safety in a play space, so it's important to know what you should be inspecting in order to keep children safe at play.

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission:

“About 200,000 children are treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for playground equipment-related injuries - an estimated 148,000 of these injuries involve public playground equipment and an estimated 51,000 involve home playground equipment. Also, about 15 children die each year as a result of playground equipment-related incidents. Most of the injuries are the result of falls. These are primarily falls to the ground below the equipment, but falls from one piece of equipment to another are also reported. Most deaths are due to strangulations, though some are due to falls.”

Let's educate you from the ground up on playground structure safety. Children at play may fall off the structure injuring their heads, arms and legs. Placing cement or asphalt under a play structure is forbidden because the surface does not have any kind of effective shock absorption. If a child falls and hits his or her head on these surfaces he or she may obtain a fractured skull or neck, a concussion or even internal bleeding or swelling of the brain. Falling on these surfaces may also result in death.

Wooden and rubber mulch, fine sand and fine gravel are great surfaces for a play space. These surfaces have fantastic shock absorbency, preventing injuries upon falling. You still must maintain these surfaces, making sure the depth is well-kept and there are no exposed roots, rocks or hard ground.  All BYO Recreation surfaces are ADA, ASTM and CPSC certified, meaning you can be sure that your children will have a lesser chance of injury if they fall.

Moving up the ladder to the play structures, we can find more ways to keep kids safe at play. Let's start with prevention of head entrapment. Children love to climb through safety bars on the playground, but if they attempt to go through feet first they will reduce their ability to climb out of danger's way causing their head to get stuck between bars and, if unattended, can strangle to death. “In general, openings that are closed on all sides should be less than 3 1/2" or greater than 9”," according to the U.S. CPSC. “Openings that are between 3' 1/2" and 9" present a head entrapment hazard because they are large enough to permit a child's body to go through, but are too small to permit the head to go through.”

BYO Recreation offers professional installment of all playground equipment through our National Playground Construction Company (NPC). NPC is a licensed Certified General Contractor (CGC) and all NPC installers are certified by the National Playground Safety Institute as playground professionals (NPSI). Hiring us will ensure you that your playground is assembled properly and meets all the safety codes and regulations put in place by government organizations such as the U.S. CPSC.

We also recommend that you inspect all of your “S” hooks to make sure they are tightly closed with no protrusions. This prevents children's clothing from getting caught which, if caught, can cause strangulation. Ropes and cords are yet another way that children can be strangled. They can get tangled in the rope or cord, or fall onto a rope or cord that has been tied around a part of the play structure and this could result in strangulation. It is important to make sure ropes and cords hang normally and are not tied in dangerous ways such as a lasso-like formation.

These are only a couple ways to help keep children safe at play and reduce the amount of injuries or deaths in, not only your play area, but also in other public or private play spaces across the nation. Help save children's lives by inspecting your playground on a regular basis.

If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to request a professional to examine your playground equipment, please give BYO Recreation a call at 1-800-853-5316 or call our professional installment company, NPC, at 1-877-637-4919 and one of our consultants will be more than happy to assist you and answer all of your questions and concerns.

To learn more about playground safety, please review the Public Playground Safety Handbook, and to obtain a playground safety checklist please refer to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission's Public Playground Safety Checklist.

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