Designing and Maintaining Safe Playground Facilities

Designing and Maintaining Safe Playground Facilities

playground facilities

Designing and Maintaining Safe Playground Facilities

Playground facilities are spaces for kids to socialize, explore the environment and play. They’re also spaces where teachers can teach lessons in nature and the world around them.

To be effective, playgrounds must be safe, durable and aesthetically pleasing. In addition to equipment, proper restrooms, water fountains and trash cans are important.


Playgrounds are great places for children to enjoy outdoor fun, but they can also be dangerous if they’re not properly designed and maintained. This means ensuring that the equipment is well-designed, and following safety regulations when installing new playground equipment.

In addition, a playground should be free of hazardous objects that could injure kids. These can include broken glass, sharp sticks, and twisted metal. They should also be cleared of any standing water that can cause a child to slip and fall.

The ground surface of a playground should be made of wood chips, mulch, sand or pea gravel, or mats that have been safety tested and proven to provide an abrasion-resistant surface. These surfaces will absorb the impact of falls and protect against serious injury.

It’s also important to install guardrails or barriers on elevated areas higher than 30 inches. This will prevent children from falling off of the play equipment.

Check that all moving parts on playground equipment, including suspension bridges, merry-go-rounds, and swinging gates, are safe. These can pinch or crush a child’s fingers and hands.

Choosing age-appropriate equipment is also crucial. Smaller children may not have playground facilities the strength or coordination to climb on equipment that’s intended for older kids.

Planting trees near a playground is another good way to bring nature into the area. This will give children a place to retreat if they get too hot or tired of playing on the playground, and it will add natural shade and a sense of security.

A pavilion or shelter can also be installed in the playground to keep children cool and protected from sudden changes of weather (like rain). This will also help them to relax during long play sessions.

Maintaining a safe playground requires regular inspections and maintenance to ensure that the equipment is in good condition. It’s also a good idea to replace old, worn-out equipment as necessary.

During routine inspections, make sure that playground equipment is free of loose pieces, fasteners or other parts that could become a choking hazard. These could be screws, bolts, nuts, or protruding hardware.


When designing a new playground, it’s important to consider the needs of children of all ages and abilities. It’s also critical to take the environment of the playground into consideration. This means ensuring that playgrounds incorporate natural elements and are set in a natural setting so kids can experience nature while playing outdoors.

Adding in natural features is the best way to create a playground that encourages exploration, interaction and observation while building a sense of connection with nature. Position play areas under trees, create gardens, use rocks and other natural elements to make the playground feel more like an authentic outdoor space.

It’s also important to consider the community that will be using the playground, such as schools or neighborhoods. This will help determine whether restrooms, picnic areas, trash receptacles, bike racks and other amenities will need to be included.

In addition, you should make sure to design your playground with the help of professionals. They are trained in ADA accessibility and can provide you with advice that will ensure the playground meets safety guidelines and is built for children of all ages and abilities.

The design of a playground should be done in consultation with children and their families. This will allow them to input their ideas and preferences into the design process so they can feel more included in the final product.

Another thing to keep in mind is that children often develop their communication skills at playgrounds. They communicate with other children and adults in a variety of ways, including non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, gestures, body language and sounds.

These skills are crucial in helping kids understand what others are thinking or feeling and to interact with them in playground facilities a positive manner. This is especially important for children with special needs.

It is also a good idea to add in little details and surprises that children can discover while playing on the playground. Things like little painted pictures in corners, secret hiding places, interesting textures, handles and levers, peep holes, talking tubes or other unexpected features will make the playground more exciting for kids.


Whether you are planning a playground at home or at a public park, it is important to consider the types of materials that will be used. The surfacing material you choose will determine how safe the play area is and the amount of maintenance it requires.

A variety of surfacing options exist, including loose-fill ground covers and unitary surfaces. Loose-fill ground covers such as poured rubber, rubber tiles and rubber mulch offer a more natural playground look and are often a cheaper option than unitary surfaces.

In addition, these surfacing options have the added benefit of providing consistent impact absorption, which is especially helpful for equipment that requires fall protection, such as swings and slides. The downside of loose-fill surfacing is that it is subject to displacement and needs regular raking back into place to keep the surface in a stable position under play equipment.

Another common surfacing option is polyvinyl chloride (PVC) coating, which can be applied to slides, panels and other play equipment to provide slip-resistant surfaces that are also available in a range of colors to enhance the playground equipment’s aesthetic appeal. Plastic coatings are particularly beneficial for high-traffic areas or spots in direct sunlight that need more protection than loose-fill surfacing can offer.

Metal is a popular choice for playground structures because it is durable, long-lasting and offers a polished look. However, it can also be a source of fire and corrosion hazards. Additionally, its metal components may be more prone to wear and tear than plastic ones, which can be less expensive and easier to maintain.

Treated wood is also an option for playground structures, but it should only be used if the hardware is not likely to interact with chemicals. For example, chromated copper arsenate (CCA)-treated wood was commonly used in playground structures before 2003, but it contains high concentrations of arsenic that can dislodge from the structure and cause harm to people who come into contact with it.

The surfacing material you choose for your playground should be chosen to meet national safety standards and guidelines. The CPSC and the American Society for Testing and Materials both have clear recommendations on acceptable playground surfacing materials, so you can feel confident that your surfacing will be safe for children.


Whether you’re building a playground for your community or a school, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Your playground’s design should be in compliance with updated safety codes and zoning laws. It should also allow adult caregivers to easily monitor kids at all times. It should include easy-to-read signage to let kids know when they’re nearing the playground’s capacity.

The first step in the installation process is to plan out how you’ll lay out your playground. This can involve making site evaluations, drawing sketches and planning layout options. It may also require you to find and secure funding for your project.

Before you begin digging, make sure to address drainage issues and soil stability. You should also call local utility companies and get them to mark any underground lines that could be disturbed during the construction process.

Next, you’ll want to install your equipment. You can do this yourself or hire a professional. However, you’ll need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely to ensure safe anchoring and proper assembly of the equipment.

If you’re installing the playground yourself, make sure to cut the posts that will support the surfacing down to 12 inches. This will save you time later in the installation process.

Another important step in the installation process is to remove any sharp edges or broken pieces from the equipment. This will help prevent injuries during play.

You should also check to see if any fastenings are loose or protruding from the playground. This can cause kids to trip or fall on them.

When you’re putting the equipment together, inspect each piece for any sharp edges or missing parts that can create an unsafe environment for children. It’s also a good idea to check each piece for broken parts and to tighten any bolts or screws that are still loose.

Lastly, you should be mindful of any nearby hazards, such as busy roads or bodies of water. Having these factors in mind will help you build a safer and more accessible playground for your community. It will also help you plan for routine maintenance after the installation is complete.