Play longer with shades for playgrounds and other outdoor spaces. When it comes to shades for playgrounds and other outdoor spaces, there are a wide variety of commercial shade structures to choose from. Shades for playgrounds protect equipment from the sun, greatly reducing the cost of maintenance and repair over time. They increase the utilization of equipment and greatly reduce the risk of sunburn in children.

The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) is dedicated to improving the quality and safety of play environments for the health and well being of children. The organization offers research and programs to provide best practice standards for all-inclusive, safe play environments for children.

NPPS offers tips and suggestions surrounding the issue of sun exposure in children on the playground.

Major points include the following:

  • Sun exposure is greatest between 10AM and 2PM.
  • Overexposure is most common in the summertime but can happen year round.
  • A higher number of childhood sunburns has been linked with a greater likelihood of developing some type of skin cancer as an adult.

The NPPS recently conducted field research on playgrounds nationwide to see how many playgrounds are equipped with shade, including natural tree shade and/or the installation of artificial shade structures.

Findings included the following:

  • 3% of playgrounds had full shade protection from 10AM to 2PM.
  • 30% of playgrounds had partial shade at peak hours.
  • 67% of playgrounds were fully exposed during these times.

These finding are a great reminder of the importance of increasing awareness of sun exposure on the playground. The best tip to avoid over exposure is to seek shade. Children may not think to seek shade on their own, particularly when at play, so it is important for parents and caregivers to regulate their exposure.

If there is no or little shade available at your community playground,

  1. Be cognizant of the time spent in the sun, (According to NPPS, just 15 minutes of direct sunlight is the cutoff for some children during peak hours!)
  2. Avoid peak hours (10AM – 2PM)
  3. Wear sunscreen or bring your own shade!

Ready to install playground shade structure? Our team of shade experts can help you make the right choice.