Did you know over 200,000 children visit the hospital each year with playground related injuries? In an effort to greatly reduce this number, both Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and ASTM International playground safety regulations have been put in place. The standards ensure our parks, schools, churches and recreational areas are providing a safe place for kids to play. The following states are required to comply with all or part of CPSC and ASTM playground safety regulations:
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
For a list of adopted standards by state, click here.
In addition, each state has been assessed and graded for safety by The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) risk factor survey. See how your state measures up.
ASTM International has developed over 12,000 technical performance standards that are utilized in a variety of industries around the world. ASTM standards surrounding playground safety include the following:
F1148 Home Playground Equipment
F1487 Public Use Playground Equipment
F2373 Under Two Play Equipment
F1292 Playground Surfacing
F1816 Drawstrings on Children’s Upper Outerwear
F1918 Soft Contained Play Equipment
F2088 Infant Swings
Tip: Check with your manufacturer to ensure products are tested and meet these standards prior to purchase. If not provided, request written material to demonstrate that the standards have been met.
A recent CPSC survey revealed the following hazards as most common on the playground (listed by frequency of occurrence):
- Equipment related hazards related to assembly, design and/or breakage
- Colliding with other children and/or stationary equipment
With this in mind, CPSC regulations and guidelines have been put in place to minimize the risk. For example, play structures more than 30 inches high must be spaced at least 9 feet apart. Play areas must be free of tripping hazards and sharp objects. Any interior opposing surface greater than 3.5 inches and less than 9 inches must be assessed for potential entrapment. Access the Public Playground Safety Handbook for a complete list of CPSC regulations.
Tip: The easiest, most efficient way to ensure your equipment and surfacing are in good, safe condition is with a professional playground safety inspection. Pro Playgrounds’ safety inspection services examine every part of your playground, down to the last nut and bolt, providing you with a detailed report of any deficiencies and a plan of action to cure them.
While ASTM and CPSC regulations have been shown to increase playground safety, it is important to remember that with any physical activity, there is potential for injury particularly due to the inquisitive and unpredictable nature of children at play.
Tip: Adult supervision is always highly recommended.