Playing by the Rules: Playground Safety Standards, Inspection, Training, & Certification
Playground safety standards deliver structure for ensuring the safety of children in outdoor play situations. Standards include two important components: playground supervision techniques and playground maintenance. Playground safety training programs prepare individuals interested in carrying out safety and inspection services. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) publishes voluntary standards and tips commercial properties can use. The organization also publishes recalls on standard playground equipment.
Playground Safety Standards
The standards offered by the CPSC for public playgrounds are voluntary. Because 60% of injuries occur due to falls, the CPSC recommends a protective surface around play structures. The organization recommends that playgrounds include a use zone, which lies underneath each play structure. In addition, the use zone should exist around slides and other equipment and extend a minimum of 6 feet around the area's equipment perimeter.
The CPSC also establishes standards that prevent children from getting their heads caught in the equipment. For example, a structure that has walls on each side should include openings that are less than 3 1/2 inches and more than 9 inches. These measurements prevent a child from getting her head caught in the area. Strangulation hazards also exist and the CPSC recommends that playground inspectors ensure "S" hooks are completely closed. This helps prevent pinching injuries on children's hands or other locations. Parents and guardians can assist with preventing strangulation by ensuring children remove the drawstrings from their outer clothing.
Certified Playground Safety Inspector
The certified playground safety inspector performs an important job. The inspector carries out duties that protect children from hazards and commercial properties from insurance liability. The National Recreation and Park Association is a popular organization that offers professional development courses that lead to playground safety certification. Individuals interested in the position can inquire at several institutions about receiving the required training.
Playground Safety Training
The playground safety training programs are offered by a number of institutions, including early childhood development education facilities. Training programs help students understand how play environments are configured, how to establish a good line of sight, inspect fall prevention materials and ensure the playground meets the requirements for the specific age group. Programs usually require a number of clock hours. Some are offered online and students can take them at their own pace. Programs include a range of courses, including playground surfaces, safety management and hazard identification.
Playground Safety Certification
Individuals pursuing certification should ensure that their program meets the minimum requirements established in their state. Of special note are the requirements established by childcare centers. Because these companies work with a wide range of students in different age groups, candidates for certification should ensure their program is appropriate for their center's age group. NRPA's program is called the Certified Playground Safety Inspector Certification program. Individuals who participate in the program are required to complete a recertification process. The renewal process requires that candidates pass an updated examination.
AAA State of Play: Commercial Playground Equipment
AAA State of Play delivers a wide range of playground structures, accessories, hardware and safety equipment. Our products include handicap accessible play structures, outdoor playground equipment, swing sets, infant and toddler structures and indoor play areas. Our customers can shop online and purchase playground structures in the appropriate age group. We offer equipment for children 2 to 12 years of age. Our customers can buy themed playgrounds that deliver an educational experience or recycled plastic options for the environmentally conscious. AAA State of Play does not just sell playground equipment. We understand safety and maintenance concerns, which is why we supervise the installation of our equipment or install it ourselves. Contact us today to discuss your next purchase.
Find more about the author: Kim Hart