CPSC Releases Updated Playground Safety GuidelinesApr 22, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP Each year, about 200,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries related to playground equipment falls, entrapments, cuts, or other playground equipment-related injuries. We are in the midst of National Playground Safety Week (April 21-25) and, in response, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is releasing an update to its popular Handbook for Public Playground Safety (PDF).
The Handbook for Public Playground Safety contains information developed for use by childcare personnel, school officials, designers, inspectors, parents, and school groups on the building of safer playgrounds for children and on incorporating safety measures to such playgrounds. Many have long considered the CPSC Handbook for Public Playground Safety to be the model handbook on playground safety elements, practices, and advice. As a matter-of-fact, the CPSC’s guidelines for public playgrounds have been used by many municipalities in the development of local and state building codes. The CPSC Handbook for Public Playground Safety also provides specifications for creating safer play zones; for avoiding hazards with playground equipment such as sharp points, entrapments, and entanglements; and for playground upgrades to allow for when children fall from playground equipment.
The CPSC’s updated Handbook for Public Playground Safety contains some new guidelines from CPSC staff for playground equipment for children who are as young as six months old. The handbook also covers track and log rolls for older children, playground surfacing suggestions, and even offers ideas on how to protect children from sun exposure on playgrounds.
The following tips are offered by the CPSC to help in the prevention of injuries and other hazards to children playing on both public and home playgrounds:
- Always supervise children on play equipment to make sure that they are safe at all times.
- Only purchase playground equipment that meets with the latest safety standards.
- Maintain at least nine inches of protective surfacing, including shredded/recycled rubber, wood chips, wood mulch (non-CCA treated), sand, or pea gravel under and around playground equipment to cushion children when they fall.
- Ensure that protective surfacing extends at least six feet in all directions from play equipment. For swings, extend protective surfacing in both in front of and in back of the swing, twice the height of the swing’s suspending bar.
- Repair sharp points or edges on equipment. Replace missing hardware and close “S” hooks that can cause injuries.
- Never attach ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines, pet leashes, or any cord of any kind to play equipment, as these will pose a strangulation hazard.
To order free copies of the CPSC staff’s updated Handbook for Public Playground Safety (CPSC-325), CPSC’s Outdoor Home Playground Handbook (CPSC-324, PDF), Home Playground Safety Checklist (CPSC-323), or any CPSC publication, email the CPSC at email@example.com. CPSC publications can also be downloaded from its Website at www.cpsc.gov. More information about National Playground Safety Week can also be found at www.playgroundsafety.org, the Website for the National Program for Playground Safety.