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02-24-22 | News

IPEMA's Recommendations on Making Playgrounds Safer

Association Lists 5 Considerations
by Staff

IPEMA is a non-profit, membership, trade association originally formed to represent and promote an open market for manufacturers of playground equipment and surfacing.

The Voice of Play, an organization connected to the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) outline five things to consider about playground safety. Their list included the following questions: Is the playground age appropriate, is the playground surface safe, is the playground's surrounding environment safe, and is the playground well maintained?

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Their first consideration, is the playground age appropriate, focuses on the size of the equipment matching the age group it is designed for. "The intended age group should be somewhat obvious from the design and scale of the equipment, but signs posted in the area - or on the equipment - should also give you some guidance as to their age appropriateness."
IPEMA's recommendations for the surfacing are to use what they consider to be the best and most accessible surfaces which are poured in place (PIP), rubber mulch, and artificial turf. Additionally, they suggest that proper surface fill must be eight to twelve inches deep especially under swings and slides.
The safety of the equipment is centered around the height, speed, space, guardrails, tripping hazards, and entrapment and strangulations risks. "It sounds like a lot to think about, but it is actually quite simple: Just look to see if there is enough room underneath, around and between playground equipment, make sure there are no protruding objects, moving parts or slippery surfaces, and that higher sections have guardrails installed."
The surrounding environment is the fourth safety consideration. IPEMA points to fencing around fencing around playgrounds that may not have particularly safe surroundings. Furthermore, visibility for parents is another major focus in which the associations says to be aware of blind spots where visibility of smaller children may be limited or blocked out.
The last consideration is the playgrounds upkeeping. "Try to think about the last time you noticed the equipment painted or stained, any missing or broken parts fixed, any loose fill spread or replaced, as well as trash cans placed and regularly emptied. If you think it has been a while, be on the lookout for missing guardrails or steps, protruding nuts or bolts, as well as rusty metal, cracked plastic or splintered wood on the equipment.

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