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Simple Tips to Make Your Church Playground Safe

With a little attention to the right details, you can help keep children safe on the playground.

Playgrounds are an important place for children to explore their physical capabilities and develop social skills. With a little attention to the right details, you can help keep them safe on the playground.

Playground Design

Use equipment designed for playgrounds. Check that your equipment meets ASTM International standards for playgrounds.

Cover areas under and around equipment with proper safety surfacing. Use 9 to 12 inches of shock-absorbing surface material. Extend the surface at least 6 feet in each direction from equipment and even more for swings.

Anchor equipment properly. Follow installation guidelines to ensure equipment is properly attached to the ground or floor. Space the equipment to prevent collisions—slide exits and swings are prime examples of where buffer space is needed.

Protect elevated play areas with guardrails. Continuous guardrails are needed for elevations of 20 inches above ground for preschooler-use and 30 inches for school-age children.

Equipment Maintenance

Track what equipment is involved in injuries. Mishaps will happen, but if one piece of equipment is frequently involved in an injury, it may be time to replace or remove it.

Replace heavy swing seats with lightweight seats. A free-swinging plastic or canvas swing is less likely to cause serious injury if it hits a child's head.

Inspect equipment regularly. Look for worn or missing parts, frayed rope or cargo webbing, loose bolts, sharp edges or points, damaged "S" hooks and exposed components that could trip, pinch or crush.

Child Supervision

Teach all children to use the equipment properly. Children should play on age-appropriate equipment. Kids under five years of age should be accompanied by an adult while using playground equipment.

Keep an eye out for children's clothing. Loose ties, hooded sweatshirts, jewelry and shoelaces can get caught on equipment and cause serious injury.

Be aware of adult-to-child supervision ratios. Comply with local and state regulations regarding the ratio. The presence of two adults at all times is strongly recommended.

Plan how you will respond to an injury. Make sure your plan allows for continued supervision while others are assisting the injured child.

This article was created by Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company.

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  • February 6, 2009

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