Is Your Local Playground in Compliance with Safety Guidelines?

Article excerpt

A recent survey of playgrounds in 26 states and the District of Columbia, conducted by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and US Public Interest Research Group (PIRC), found that:

* 79 percent of playgrounds did not have adequate protective surfacing.

* 58 percent of playgrounds had climbers or slides higher than six feet.

* 49 percent of playgrounds with swings violated one or more recommended safety guidelines. The survey illustrated that most older playgrounds, and even a few built recently, fail to meet many basic safety standards.

The good news, say CFA and PIRC, is that most equipment being sold today for new playgrounds is significantly safer than what was available just five years ago.

Playground safety checklist

The following checklist can help you evaluate the general safety of your local playground.

* Is there a lack of protective surfacing under or around play equipment?

Hard, paved surfaces such as concrete and asphalt, as well as grass, soil, and hard-packed dirt are not acceptable for use under and around play equipment. Acceptable materials include wood chips, shredded bark mulch, sand, and pea gravel - when installed and maintained at depths of at least nine to 12 inches, and provided that they are not wet or compacted. Shredded tires can also meet resiliency requirements when spread at a depth of at least six inches. …