Bringing a School Playground into Compliance
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), each year, about 200,000 children are treated for playground equipment-related injuries with an estimated 148,000 of these injuries involving public playground equipment. Many of these injuries are the result of falls.
The surfacing under and around playground equipment is one of the most important factors in reducing the likelihood of life-threatening head injuries.
Use Zones at the Sunrise Elementary Playground
When surfacing a playground there are compliance standards that have to be met. In the case of Sunrise Elementary in Richmond, MO, when it updated its playground, it meant ensuring appropriate use zones around the playground equipment.
A use zone is essential under and around equipment where a child might fall or be expected to land. This area should be free of other equipment and obstacles onto which a child might fall. The use zone in front and back of the swing should extend out a minimum distance of twice the height of the swing as measured from the top of the safety surfacing to the bottom of the top rail where the swings attach.
The school, unaware that the existing use zones around its swings weren't compliant, planned to resurface the same existing area.
However, to meet use zone standards, the playground needed to have double the height on either side of the swings. For the 8-foot swings, this means having 16 ft. on either side, for a total of 32 ft. width, which would be more than double what the existing surfaced area was.
As shown in these before and after pictures, the existing area needed to be expanded to meet compliance standards.
In order to ensure the playground surfacing would be compliant, we partnered with Tim McNamara of ABCreative. Tim's expertise and knowledge about playground compliance and surfacing was invaluable.
A little extra time and due diligence helped us ensure that we were able to meet the school's needs and bring it into CPSC and ADA compliance.
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