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Glossary of Terms

As in every industry, there are certain terms that we use on our site that may not be familiar to you. We have listed terms below with a definition so that you can better understand the equipment and be able to make a more informed decision regarding your purchase. Let us know if you come across any terms not listed below that you would like defined!


Americans with Disabilities Act. Enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1990.

ADA Accessible
Describes a playground that follows the ADA guidelines.

ADA Compliant
This is another way of saying ADA Accessible. Compliant playgrounds follow ADA guidelines.

Age Group
Playgrounds are designed with a specific age range in mind for safety reasons. The age group refers to the age range that the equipment is designed for.

Formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, ASTM International provides international standards for a wide ranges of products, services, and materials. ASTM standards for playgrounds ensure that your product is safe and reliable.

The availability tells you how soon after your order is placed that you can expect your equipment to arrive.

An enclosing device around an elevated platform to prevent accidental and purposeful attempts to move through the device.

Blow Mold Plastic
Pieces of the play structure that are hollow plastic. Created by melting down the plastic and injecting it into the mold. Air pressure pushes the plastic out into the mold, creating the product.

Piece of equipment that outlines the use zone of a playground. A border surrounds safety surfacing and is typically a type of timber.

The company that produces the product.

Piece of equipment designed for children to safely climb up and around. Several designs include panels, ropes, nets, and metal.

Composite Structure
The combination of elevated play components that are linked together to create one large system. Provides play activities such as slides and climbers.

Stands for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The CPSC sets forth guidelines for playground equipment. Some states may require playgrounds to comply with these guidelines.

Stands for Certified Playground Safety Inspector. A certification that can be earned from the National Recreation and Park Association stating that the individual is qualified to determine a playground's safety level.

Critical Height
The maximum fall height that a life-threatening head injury would not be expected to occur.

Occurs when the playground user's clothing or something around the user's neck becomes entwined or caught on a component of equipment.

Fall Height
The distance between the highest designed play area on a piece of equipment and the safety surfacing beneath.

A way of anchoring the playground equipment to the ground.

The area that the piece of equipment will cover physically.

A device around an elevated platform that exists to prevent falls from the elevated surface.

Inclusive Playground
Playgrounds that are designed to be accessible to all children, taking three things into consideration; accessible for any level of physical development, accessible for any age group and development level, and include sensory stimulating activities.

Any material (vertical bars, solid panel, etc.), used between decks, or in a protective barrier, to prevent a child from falling through the barrier.

Loose Fill Surfacing
Protective surfacing in a use zone that consists of loose particles. Examples are sand, gravel, rubber mulch, or engineered wood mulch.

Natural Playground
Playgrounds that use natural materials, features, and vegetation with creative landscapes to create a play area out of natural objects.

Overhead Ladder
Commonly referred to as “monkey bars.” Features a horizontal ladder hoisted up by four poles at various heights. Can stand alone or attach to a structure.

A designated place specifically designed for children to play. May be indoors or outdoors.

The most common plastic. Used in several products.

Powder Coat Paint
A type of paint coating that is applied as a dry powder and is baked on.

Preschool Age Children
Refers to children ages 2 to 5 years old.

A piece of something that sticks out.

Rotational Mold Plastic
A heated hollow mold that is filled with plastic and slowly rotated until the plastic fully coats and fills the mold.

Safety Zone
The surface around a piece of equipment that is expected to be the area a child falling would land. Also designated for free circulation around piece of equipment.

School Age Children
Refers to children ages 5 to 12 years old.

A narrow board anchored in the middle, allowing one end to go up as the other goes down. Commonly called a teeter-totter.

Stock Keeping Unit. The item number of the piece of equipment.

A chute that travels from the decks of the structure to the ground. Various forms of slides include a tube slide, right turn slide, and a bump wave slide.

Tether Ball
A two person game featuring a pole with a ball hanging from the top by a long rope. Players hit the ball back and forth, trying to wrap the rope around the pole. One player wins when the rope is wrapped around the pole and the ball touches the pole.

Children ages 6 months to 23 months.

Tube Slide
A slide that is a totally enclosed tube or tunnel.

Unit Size
The dimensions of the piece of equipment.

Use Zone
The area under and around a piece of equipment that a child falling would be expected to land. Also designated for unrestricted movement around the equipment.

How heavy the piece of equipment is.

Find more about the author: Kristen Breedlove