We care about you and your family’s safety. As the weather warms up and you head outside, it’s important to anticipate any potential safety hazards or accidents that could happen during playtime. Each year, hospital emergency physicians treat more than 200,000 children for playground-related injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Many of the injuries occur when a child falls from the equipment onto the ground. Here are some tips to keep your children – and their friends – safe on your home playground:
Create a play space
Before you install your playground, make sure you measure out an entire play space. It’s recommended to have a six-foot radius surrounding the play area in all directions. If your playground has swings, experts suggest that the surface extends in the front and back. Typically, twice the height of the suspending bar. Make sure your play space has any tripping hazards removed, too. Tree stumps, large rocks or uneven ground can all be dangerous for little feet.
Read the directions and have the tools necessary to complete the job. For large or more complex playgrounds, you may want to consider hiring a professional installer. Additionally, make sure the equipment is anchored to the ground to keep it from tipping over while in use.
One of the most important pieces of your playground isn’t even a part of the structure—it’s what you have on the ground. Installing and maintaining a shock-absorbing surface (mulch, wood chips or shredded rubber) around the playground equipment is a must.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends using at least nine inches of material around a playground up to seven feet high. Sand or pea gravel is recommended for playgrounds up to five feet high. It’s also important to replenish the base each year.
Check the hardware
Look for open “S” hooks, protruding bolt ends or sharp points. Make sure they are covered properly or removed.
Check for hazards
Platforms, walkways and ramps need guardrails. Platforms shouldn’t be higher than six feet for school-aged children and no higher than four feet for preschoolers. Ropes, jump ropes and leashes should never be attached to any area of the equipment.
A few times per month, it’s important to do a once over on the playground. Making sure the nuts and bolts are tightened as needed, make sure protective caps are still in place and keep an eye out for wear and tear as the structure gets older. It’s also important to take care of the area surrounding the structure. Make sure you rake the surface regularly to prevent compaction.
Some of the best memories are created in your own backyard. Make sure your family is safe and has the proper protection.
Contact an Erie Insurance Agent to make sure you have the homeowners coverage you and your active family need.