Tips & Guides, Outdoor Playground Equipment

Playground Safety And Annual Inspections In London

Children playing outdoors in a play area at school

If you’re looking to cultivate children’s social development and exploratory skills in a stimulating and safe manner, ensuring that your London play area is adhering to all playground equipment safety regulations and is accessible to all. This is crucial, especially when 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 completely eliminated at all times. In this article, we’ll share with you a number of ways in which you can ensure your playground safety for your children and staff alike.

Age Appropriate Activities And Playground Equipment

To ensure that children get the most out of play without challenging themselves in dangerous ways, we recommend separating your play areas with age-appropriate activities and outdoor playground equipment.

Consider creating ‘age bands’ by grouping children from ages 6 to 23 months, 2 to 5-year-olds, and from ages 5 to 12, whilst 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 these ability levels with a wide range of equipment is also important. 

Children who 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 new playground equipment in London, it’s very important to work with a playground manufacturer that is known for using high-quality and durable materials. It’s 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 whilst following the highest playground safety standards.

 

Playground Surfaces In London

Playground surfaces are one of the most essential preventative measures when it comes to accidents or injuries in schools.

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 surfacing should be 12 inches deep, according to most playground safety guidelines. 

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 it also prohibits the possibility of the play equipment becoming corroded or damaged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safety Hazards

There are a number of things to consider when visiting an outdoor school 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 to decrease the risk of injury and prevent overcrowding. There should be a minimum of 6 feet in all directions for each piece of equipment, and a minimum of 9 feet if the play equipment exceeds 30 inches in height. 

little boy with a yellow hat playing in an outdoor playground area

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. Tip – always make sure that the surfacing is free from protruding tree roots, stumps, or loose rocks.

Weather Conditions

Be mindful of the materials used to construct the playground equipment. If it’s an especially hot day, children may burn themselves on metal or plastic surfaces that have been exposed to direct sunlight. It’s also very important to remember that these materials can also become slippery when wet, which can result in falls that can be especially dangerous when they take place from a height.

Damaged Or Broken Playground Equipment

Another vital aspect of playground safety is to look out for any potential damage, wear, or tear, including:

  • Rust
  • Sharp objects like screws or metal edges that are jutting out, as they’re liable to cause scratches or cuts
  • Missing screws or bolts that make the structure unsturdy

Children Supervision

For children under the age of 5, adult supervision is crucial. Remaining within their vicinity means that you’re 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 actually using the play equipment alongside them. 

If children are of older age, then they’re more likely to want to explore and play without adult supervision. In this case, we would suggest keeping a watchful eye from a respectable distance. By doing so you can still react quickly whilst 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, that 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 playground safety inspector 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 standards (BS EN1176) in a number of areas, including:

  • Site safety
  • Site condition and surfacing
  • Equipment condition

You’ll then receive a detailed report of the findings, a risk assessment, and recommendations given for repairs or maintenance of any non-compliant playground equipment to improve safety and reduce the risk of injury. Depending upon the company assessing your playground, 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 equipment in London that is accessible for children of all abilities, and that is designed with safety and inclusivity in mind. 

If you’re looking to make the most of your playground area, please contact us and a member of our friendly team will be happy to assist you. We can provide you with a bespoke playground design and installation to suit the needs and requirements of your school, and if you want to find out more, send us an email at hello@redmonkeyplay.co.uk or call our office on 0116 366 9922 to book a FREE consultation.

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