Our playgrounds offer kids and families a secure, engaging space where they can enjoy fresh air while reaping the benefits of physical activity. Unfortunately, with all that activity comes the inevitable risk of injury. To ensure an enjoyable visit to our playgrounds for every child, every time, we can offer parents clear, easy-to-follow guidelines on the safe, appropriate use of our grounds and our equipment.
The Legal Angle
No one likes to think about the possibility of a lawsuit resulting from a child being injured on your playground. But legal realities are a fact of life, and if a suit should arise, having posted the appropriate safety signage in full view of visitors can help your case by showing the court you ‘ve taken steps to ensure a safe experience.
The Official Word
Both the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have issued recommendations regarding playground safety signage. ASTM’s recommendations are located in the Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Playground Equipment for Public Use, and you can find the CPSC’s guidelines in the Public Playground Safety Handbook.
Types of Playground Safety Signage
Supervision Advisory: A simple sign reading “Adult supervision is recommended” reminds visitors that your playground is not intended for unsupervised play.
Age Range of Equipment Users: For a safe and enjoyable playground experience, it’s important that children use only equipment that is age-appropriate for them. Labeling your equipment with age ranges gives the parent clear guidance on whether a particular activity is safe for his or her child.
Hot Surface Warning: During our sweltering Texas summers, it’s possible for playground equipment to become so hot that it creates a burn hazard. A hot surface warning label advises the parent or caregiver to test the surfaces of slides, swings, and other equipment before allowing the child to play on them.
Strangulation Warning: Loose clothing, drawstrings, necklaces, straps, and other elements can present a strangulation risk if they get caught on equipment during play. Strangulation warning labels advise parents and caregivers to remove any and all strangulation hazards before allowing the child to play on the equipment.
Surfacing Warnings: Any equipment installed on a hard surface should carry a surfacing warning alerting parents to the risk of injuries from falls.
Where Signage Should Be Placed
Place all safety signs in locations where they are readily visible and where they can alert the viewer in time to take action if needed. They can be affixed to the equipment or posted on free-standing posts within the playground but outside of use zones.
Also, remember to keep trees, bushes and other plants trimmed so as not to obscure the visibility of your safety signs.
Playground safety is a team effort, and by presenting clear, easy-to-follow safety guidelines, we can help our communities enjoy a safe, engaging experience every time they visit.
As schools face increasing pressure to pack more academic subjects into every day, recess is all too often the first casualty. To the casual observer, it’s an easy decision: “why give kids a free period to ‘just run around’ when they could be inside learning,” right? But research from the American Academy of Pediatrics tells a different story: research is a critical component of every child’s cognitive, emotional, physical, and social welfare.
Recess improves focus
In a study sponsored by Georgia State University, researchers approached a school with a no-recess policy and gained permission for two fourth-grade classes to have recess twice a week. The result? Most of children in the test group — including several with ADD — were more focused and less fidgety on recess days than on non-recess days.
Recess is good for the brain … and the body
The exposure to natural light that kids receive during recess stimulates the pineal gland. Situated near the center of the brain, the pineal gland produces melatonin, an important hormone for regulating sleep cycles and other functions in the central nervous system. Natural light is also important for absorbing Vitamin D, which helps build strong immune systems, and for developing healthy eyesight.
Recess builds social skills
When kids have free time outside of the classroom, they have the opportunity to socialize, communicate, and cooperate with their classmates in an unstructured setting. And when recess involves play on a playground, the vital skills of sharing and turn-taking become part of the experience.
Recess inspires creativity
When kids are free from the rigors of the classroom, their imaginations have space to grow and develop. The longer the recess, the more beneficial it is for creative development: Informal studies show that it takes kids about 15-20 minutes to decide what to play and who will be involved, and only then can truly imaginative play begin to happen.
So if your school administration is considering getting rid of recess, remind them of these key benefits to the development and well-being of your students. And if you’re looking to enhance the recess experience with modern, engaging, safe playground equipment, give us a call at 713-939-9888. If you can dream it, we can build it!