While playground maintenance might feel like a hassle, it is an important part of being responsible for a playground. Regular playground inspections and maintenance keeps the area safe and attractive, and it extends your playground’s useful life. If you can’t remember the last time you properly inspected your playground, consider why regular inspections and maintenance is essential:
- Maintenance Safeguards Playing Children
Each year, emergency rooms in the U.S. treat more than 200,000 children for playground-related injuries. In fact, playground injuries are the leading cause of injury to children in childcare and to children ages 5-14 in schools. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that playgrounds that are well maintained have fewer risks to children. Playgrounds are designed to be areas of fun and activity. With regular maintenance, they can stay a safe environment of play and recreation.
- Maintenance Plans Limit Liability
With timely inspections and maintenance, you can be sure you are doing all you can to keep kids safe. You will be quicker to catch potential hazards, such as tripping dangers, broken equipment, or displaced safety surface material. Even still, running and playing kids are still prone to getting injured. Having a documented process to inspect, record, and fix any playground issues helps manage your risk and limit your liability in the event of an injury.
- Maintenance Protects Your Investment
Significant time and resources have been invested in creating a safe play for your community to gather and for kids to play safely. Extend the useful life of your investment by performing regular maintenance and quickly fixing any materials that are starting to show wear. Putting off fixes can result in risk of hazards and potentially larger repair bills down the line.
- Maintenance Preserves Your Playground’s Value
Your playground gives kids, families, neighbors, and your community an attractive and joyful place to connect. Broken equipment and failing safety surfacing diminish their ability to use the playground and enjoy the play area. As the playground becomes less attractive, fewer people will want to use it, removing the playground’s value to the community. By keeping the playground and recreational area properly maintained, you preserve the space for fun and healthy recreation.
What to Inspect
Playground equipment, site amenities, and safety surfacing all require regular inspection and maintenance to fulfill their purposes. Each can be impacted by age, level of use, materials used, climate, weather, and other factors. During routine maintenance checks, evaluators should look for any situations that could potentially create a hazardous play environment. This might include some of the following:
- Broken or missing equipment
- Loose or missing bolts, clamps, or hooks
- Corroded materials or cracked plastic parts
- Vandalized or defaced property
- Tripping hazards like tree roots or broken surfacing
- Any exposed components that could pinch, crush, or tear
While many understand the importance of checking the playground equipment, safety surfacing is equally important in protecting children from serious injury due to falls. Playground safety surfacing should be tested to measure the shock absorbing properties to ensure they maintain ASTM standards for impact attenuation. Other important aspects to inspect include the following:
- Surfacing material has not been compromised by tree roots or underlayer sinking
- Border around playground is in good condition
- Transitions from one safety surfacing to another (such as poured-in-place to loose fill) are rounded, smooth, and unbroken
- Loose fill surfacing material is not scattered
- Loose fill surfacing is at an appropriate depth for safety
- Poured-in-place or tiled rubber surfacing is not excessively worn
- Surface materials have not been intentionally vandalized or damaged
Having your playground safety surfacing inspected by a professional helps to guarantee no critical maintenance and repairs are missed. Contact SpectraTurf for a complimentary evaluation by our qualified professionals. We will perform a site visit, recommend a plan of action for any repairs or maintenance required, and we will provide a quote for the work.
If properly maintained, your playground can provide children and their families with safe places to play, learn, and grow for decades. Protect your investment and the children who enjoy it by contacting us for a complimentary maintenance evaluation today.