1. Swings are a favorite on the playground. Go investigate the swings to make sure the seats are made with appropriate material before children get on them. There should not be any metal or wooden swing seats since they are not soft for the user and can be harmful if they accidentally hit a passer by. Also, make sure swings are spaced out about 24 inches apart to keep from colliding with one another. You may also want to check the sturdiness of the swing posts so that they do not shift when your child is swaying back and forth on the swing seat.
2. You also want to check to make sure that your child is playing on the appropriate age playground. Some playgrounds have signs that state what age group is allowed on the equipment but if there isn’t a sign you can analyze the equipment for yourself to make sure it is the right piece of equipment for your child to play on. For a 2 to 5 age playground you should check to see if there are lower platforms, spring riders and areas to crawl. For school age playgrounds look and see if there are developmentally appropriate activities such as climbers, sliding poles, horizontal bars and a bigger open space to run around.
3. Surfacing is a very important part of the playground. Many injuries on playgrounds are due to falls. You should check to see if there is proper surfacing. The surfacing that is sufficient would be wood mulch, sand, rubber mulch, shredded tires, rubber mats, turf or poured in place rubber. Surfacing that is not soft enough would be grass, dirt and concrete since they don’t cushion falls. It is also recommended that there be a minimum depth of 12 inches of material surrounding the equipment of a 6 foot fall zone for loose filled surfacing such as sand and slightly less for other types of surfacing..
4. You also want to be sure to inspect the slides to make sure they are anchored right. Also, make sure there is nothing poking out that would scratch your child as they slide down. Slides should have sturdy handrails and traction on the steps. Make sure there is a bar at the top of the slide so children have to sit before sliding down to prevent them from falling forward.
5. Make sure spring riders are used by younger children. Many older children like to get on this piece of equipment but it is design for smaller children ages 2 to 5 years old. An older child may end up damaging the equipment and making it unsafe for a younger child to play on. Do not use adjustable seesaws with chains since several injuries can occur from the chains.
6. If there is a merry go round, make sure it is level. If the merry go round is not level it will cause it to jolt children around and get them off balance. Make sure there are good hand grips as well so kids are able to hold on tight. And survey the area to make sure no other equipment or object are close by to prevent children from getting hurt when getting off the merry go round.
If you notice any equipment that is not up to these standards then you should contact whoever is in charge of the maintenance for the playground. By keeping these things in mind, you will ensure your child has a safe and fun time at the playground. And it will help give you a peace of mind while they are playing.