If you’re looking to cultivate children’s social development and exploratory skills in a stimulating and safe manner, ensuring that your London playground is adhering to the legal safety requirements and is accessible to all is crucial, especially if you’re planning and developing brand new opportunities. Bumps, bruises and scrapes are all part of playtime, however, the risk of more serious injuries needs to be all but eliminated. Here are a number of ways you can ensure that your playground is safe.
Age Appropriate Activity And Equipment
To ensure that children get the most out of play without challenging themselves dangerously is to separate play areas with age-appropriate activities and equipment. Consider creating ‘age bands’. We would recommend grouping children from ages 6 to 23 months, 2 to 5-year-olds and from ages 5 to 12 and implementing equipment that accommodates different styles of play and the development of multiple skill sets. The 5 to 12 year olds age group does contain a varying level of ability, so accommodating for these ability levels with a range of equipment is also important.
Children that play in areas that are not designed for their age group increase the risk of injury, especially if they don’t have the required strength or grip to hold on or maneuver themselves safely. Similarly, the safety rails and guards are not designed to keep smaller children safe and secure, making it that much easier for an accident to happen.
When it comes to installing a new playground in London, it is so important to work with a playground manufacturer that is known for using high-quality, durable materials. It is also vital that the equipment is built to be structurally sound and has been designed with safety in mind. At Red Monkey Play, our learning development specialists are experts in creating bespoke playground solutions that make the most of the space available. We build with children’s development and learning in mind, but most importantly with an emphasis on safety.
Playground Flooring In London
Playground flooring is one of the most essential preventative measures when it comes to accidents or injury. Shock and impact-absorbing materials such as wood chips, mulch, sand, rubber and even gravel should be implemented to take the impact of a child’s fall. Pre-school playground safety surfacing should be at least 6 inches deep and for full-sized equipment, the playground safety surfacing should be 12 inches deep.
Harder surfaces should be fitted with level non-slip playground flooring and have the appropriate drainage systems in place to prevent a buildup of water. This not only prevents potential hazards but also prohibits the possibility of the equipment becoming corroded or damaged.
There are a number of things to consider when visiting a playground or designing your own!
Over-crowded Play Areas
It is essential when planning and designing your London playground area that each piece of equipment has enough area surrounding it. This decreases the risk of injury and prevents overcrowding. There should be a minimum of 6 feet in all directions for each piece of equipment, and a minimum of 9 feet if equipment exceeds 30 inches in height.
Unsuitable Ground Surfacing
London playgrounds should not under any circumstances be erected on top of grass, concrete or asphalt because these materials are likely to cause more damage due to not absorbing the impact of a child’s weight. Make sure that the surfacing is free from protruding tree roots, stumps, or loose rocks.
Be mindful of the materials used to construct the equipment. If it’s an especially hot day, children may burn themselves on any metal or plastic surfaces that have been exposed to direct sunlight. It is also important to bear in mind that these materials can become slippery when wet which can result in falls – those of which can be especially dangerous when from a height.
Damaged or Broken Equipment
Things to look out for when checking for potential damage or wear include:
- Sharp objects like screws or metal edges that are jutting out, liable to causing scratches or cuts
- Missing screws or bolts that make the structure unsturdy
For children under the age of five, adult supervision is crucial. Remaining within their vicinity means that you are able to respond quickly to any potential accidents,and can even prevent these situations from occurring. Children of a younger age will usually want you to get involved with their activity anyway, whether that be watching them or to actually use the equipment alongside them.
If children are of an older age, then they are more likely to want to explore and play without adult supervision. In this case we would suggest to keep a watchful eye from a respectable distance. This allows you to react quickly whilst also allowing them to have fun freely.
Playground Inspections And Maintenance In London
To ensure that your playground equipment is performing to the best of its ability, is compliant with the British and European safety standards and is certified as safe to use, we would recommend having it inspected at least once a year by a company that has received training from an official body, such as the RoSPA.
When your playground is inspected, it will be assessed by a fully qualified Register of Play Inspector (RPII) and carried out in accordance with the current British and European safety standard (BS EN1176) in a number of areas including:
- Site safety
- Site condition and surfacing
- Equipment condition
You will then receive a detailed report of the findings, a risk assessment and recommendations given for repairs or maintenance on the non-compliant equipment to improve safety and reduce the risk of injury.
Depending upon the company assessing your equipment, a few quick fixes may be made during the inspection such as the tightening of screws and bolts and the smoothing of sharp edges.
How Can Red Monkey Play Help Your London Project?
At Red Monkey Play, we are passionate about creating playground spaces in London that are accessible for children of all abilities and are designed with safety and inclusivity in mind.
If you’re looking to make the most of your playground area, please get in touch with a member of our friendly London team. We will be more than happy to provide you with a bespoke playground design and installation to suit the needs and requirements of your school. For more information on our services, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our London office on 020 38445 525 to book a free consultation.