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March 23, 2016
From the flashiest international amusement parks to the humblest old-tire-and rope swing sets at home, safety should always come first. Every year, emergency rooms all over the world deal with tens of thousands of playground-related accidents.
This is why regulations addressing playground safety exist. They not only set rules in place - they also significantly contribute to a child and guardian’s well-being and peace of mind. Let’s take a closer look at what else these playground regulations have achieved.
Standardized safety guidelines
In 1981, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) published a handbook of safety guidelines for both public and home playground set-ups. The Safety Handbook was was revised in 1991, 1994, 1997, 2008, and 2010 to address new concerns and innovations through the years.
It has set the standard in the playground industry for safety information. To read the complete updated Public Playground Safety Handbook, click here.
Strict state legislations on playground safety
The CPSC’s Safety Handbook was adopted in full or in parts by lawmakers in several states, including Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. The states that adopted the CPSC’s guidelines are strict about implementation. In California, for instance, no state fund may be used for the planning, development, or redevelopment of a playground unless it conforms to these regulations.
Child care providers must comply with playground regulations
In Florida, a child care provider must take up a course in playground safety before getting his or her license. This is in accordance with F.A.C. 65C-22.003 of Florida’s Child Care Standards.
Similarly, Virginia’s Child Care Standards place special emphasis on playground safety. According to 22 VAC 15-30-310 or the Minimum Standards for Licensed Child Day Centers for Virginia, written playground safety procedures must include active supervision by a staff member.
Safer playground equipment and planning
Today, safety awareness comes first whether it’s in a big public playground or a small restaurant play zone. Better planning and equipment contribute to fewer playground-related mishaps. Thanks to the CPSC’s Safety Handbook, many states require resilient surfacing like rubber mulch in their playgrounds, and a fall zone of six feet surrounding all playground equipment is a must. Other regulations addressing entanglement hazards, swing seat compositions, and entrapment have become strict requirements across states for both private and public playgrounds.
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