Granted, summer doesn’t officially arrive until June 21, but the warm weather has already arrived in the Southeast. And with longer days and later sunsets, that means there are more available hours for the children to get outside and play. But the truth of the matter is that the kids can only keep themselves entertained in the backyard for so long. An even better solution? Take them to the nearest local playground facility!
If you help to lead an organization which owns and maintains a playground – or is planning to have a new playground installed in the near future – then you also need to be mindful of some helpful safety tips and guidelines when it comes to operating a playground in the summertime. And to that end, Carolina Recreation & Design is here to provide some information you can use!
Here are some helpful summer playground safety tips gleaned from information provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the American Academy of Pediatrics:
Summer weather is great for outdoor play, but you also want to be mindful of the fact that playground equipment can sometimes get a little too warm for comfort. You should make sure that your playground equipment isn’t too hot for children to be able to use safely. Play equipment which receives full sun exposure – especially metals in particular – can produce third-degree burns on a warm summer day. For this reason, metal outdoor playground equipment, including slides, jungle gyms, monkey bars, etc., may need to be avoided in the mid-day sun.
Speaking of metal, you also want to flag any sharp edges or protruding points. Protruding bolts or open “S” hooks (like those found on swing set chains or tire swings) are potential hazards in any playground environment. Be sure to address any issues of this nature that you may happen to find immediately before allowing children to enter your playground area.
It’s important that children have easy access to water whenever they’re out playing during the warm summer months. If you’re a parent, then you know that children can exert an incredible amount of energy in just a short amount of time. Hopefully, parents will bring some cold water for their children on their own, but that’s not something you can always count on. It’s good to make a water fountain available on or near your playground area, and it’s also very important to keep your water fountain in good working order through the summer months.
Even if some natural shade is available on your playground, it’s impossible to block out the sun completely. To that end, encourage children and families to use plenty of sunscreen or sunblock to prevent negative impacts from harmful UV rays. During the peak of summer, sunburn can become an issue after only 30 minutes of exposure. Make sure to educate children about the importance of using sunblock and protecting their skin from sun exposure. And if you want to go the extra mile for your playground patrons, make some sunscreen available right onsite.
Most insects really aren’t a threat to children and adults, even if they happen to look threatening. But having said that, bees and wasps are known to nest underneath and inside covered areas, including playground equipment. And an insect that feels threatened can certainly move into self-defense (stinging) mode in a hurry. If you happen to notice some flying insects on your playground, follow their flight path to see where they go. If you find a nest inside the playground area itself, it’s best to remove it before you allow children to return to the play area.
In the Southeast especially, summer storms can pop up almost anytime, and sometimes without a whole lot of warning. Keep track of weather forecasts and current radar to help you be aware of any sudden rain downpours and lightning threats. And after a heavy rain shower has passed, you should inspect the playground to make sure that your safety surfacing levels haven’t been depleted. You’ll also want to check your playground structures to make sure that surfaces aren’t too slippery for children to navigate.
This isn’t just a summer tip; it’s a general playground safety tip. Be sure to examine your swing set chains, along with any other hangers, fasteners, and hardware that’s present on your playground equipment. You’ll want to ensure that all bolts are snug and secure. If you happen to find any hardware or equipment connectors that are missing or damaged, these need to be replaced immediately. Check all anchors as well; each play element should be properly anchored to the ground, with no obvious wiggle or give.
Whenever doing any type of inspection of your playground equipment, it’s also a good idea to conduct a clean sweep of the surrounding playground area. Pick up any and all trash or fallen debris, and remove it from the environment. This will improve the appearance of your playground for visitors, but more importantly than that, it will serve to get rid of any possible trip hazards or puncture hazards for children using your play facility.
Here are two more things to consider when it comes to providing the safest, most enjoyable playground environment for children and their caregivers: safety surfacing and shade.
Falls from playground equipment are the most frequent cause of injury on playgrounds. Because that’s true, every playground or individual piece of play equipment needs its own safety surfacing underneath. Typical recommended depth of engineered wood fiber surfacing is 12 inches. Other types of recommended safety surfacing include rubber or synthetic turf with an engineered foam pad for attenuation. These engineered safety surfaces can be even more effective than wood fiber, and they tend to be much longer-lasting, as well. Got questions about the right safety surface solution for your playground? Give the pros at Carolina Recreation & Design a call at (704) 664-1833!
While some playgrounds benefit from natural shade overhead, most don’t afford that luxury. All types of playground equipment will benefit from having sun shades installed, especially if there are prominent metal and plastic elements. Interested in exploring your many options when it comes to fabric shade playground solutions? Carolina Recreation & Design has you covered – literally!
Carolina Recreation & Design is a full-service general contractor that specializes in offering turnkey installation of playgrounds, recreational products, and outdoor structures for parks, schools, churches, clubs, daycares, HOAs, and community centers across NC, SC, VA, and TN. We offer premium-quality commercial products that are safe, fun, and built to last. You can connect with us online, or simply give us a call today at (704) 664-1833!
Carolina Recreation & Design has all your commercial playground, recreation equipment, and site development needs covered from start to finish. If you’re ready to install your own playground facility, outdoor recreational facility, or outdoor gathering venue, we can make it happen for you!
Carolina Recreation & Design is a full-service general contracting company offering turnkey installation of recreational products for parks, schools, churches, clubs, daycares and amusement parks. We offer premium-quality commercial products that are safe, fun, and built to last.