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PLAYGROUND SAFETY 1 Why is playground safety so important? • 76% of injuries to children occur on public playgrounds • 44% of all injuries are caused by falls • Estimated 200,000 emergency room treated injuries • Climbers are involved in more than 50% of these injuries • Children between 2-9 account for 83% of injuries • Some deaths caused by falls to hard surfaces, head entrapments, entanglements, and impact injuries. 2 What’s happened in the world of playground safety? • Changes to CPSC’s Public Playground Safety Handbook that was updated November 2010 • EEC regulations effective January 2010 include a focus on hazards that may lead to injuries such as head entrapments • QRIS includes outdoor environments and the use of the Environmental Rating Scales 3 Playground Safety is addressed in QRIS and ERS • Category 2 of QRIS includes “demonstrates healthy, safe and clean indoor and outdoor environments”. • The Environmental Rating Scale is the tool used for self assessment and assessment by a reliable rater of the indoor and outdoor environment. Experience tells us that: • Children are being injured while using outdoor play equipment • Some of the injuries may have been prevented with changes to the outdoor environment and with adequate supervision • EEC staff continue to build on their knowledge of playground safety and assessment • The provider community must be included in the plan for improving playground safety Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Public Playground Safety Handbook *Federal agency charged with protecting public from products that may cause injury or death * CPSC’s Public Playground Safety Handbook used by many states to develop regulations and policy *The Environmental Rating Scales that are imbedded in QRIS use CPSC’s Handbook as a guide for the assessments related to outdoor space and equipment. 6 Regulations related to Playground Safety 7.07 (7) Outdoor Space 7.07 (16)(e) Playground Safety 7.07 (13) Safety Requirements for Equipment, Materials and Furnishings 7.10 (5) Supervision 7 What does this mean for all of us? The goal is threefold: • To provide ongoing training to ensure that all licensing staff have a solid knowledge base so that clear, consistent information can be provided to programs • To provide training and information for programs so that they have the tools and the knowledge to be able to assess and provide safe indoor and outdoor spaces for children in their care. • To conduct enhanced playground inspections that will focus on surfacing, fall zones and entrapments An enhanced inspection takes a closer look! Revised EEC Policy • Playground safety inspection will include using the 2011 EEC Playground Safety Policy that was built on the foundation of the 1997 Playground Safety Policy Playground Safety Policy • Focuses on 5 areas of concern: - Equipment - Surfacing - Fall zones - Hazards including entrapments - Supervision *Refer to Playground Safety Policy Equipment • Must be developmentally appropriate for the ages of the children using it. • Must be free of hazards • Must not be identified by CPSC as being unsafe for any age group Surfacing • Falls from equipment is the #1 cause of injury to children. • The function of surfacing is to reduce the severity of injuries due to falls. • The fall height of equipment will determine the amount of surfacing needed. 13 Determining Fall Height 14 Minimum Compressed loose fill surfacing depths Inches Loose-fill Protects to fall height of material 6 Shredded/ 10 feet recycled rubber 9 Sand 4 feet 9 Pea gravel 5 feet 9 Wood mulch 7 feet (non CCA) 9 Wood chips 10 feet 15 Appropriate Surfacing Unitary Materials Loose Fill • Rubber mats • Pea gravel (not for • Tiles infants/toddlers) • Poured surfaces • Sand • Shredded/recycled rubber mulch • Wood mulch including engineered wood fiber • Wood chips All manufactured surfacing materials must meet ASTM standards. 16 Loose fill surfacing materials • Compresses at least 25% over time • Requires frequent maintenance • May need a method of containment • May be affected by the drainage and resulting standing water • Loose fill material can not be used as the only protective surfacing over hard areas such as asphalt or concrete • Surfacing installed over a hard area must be installed professionally according to CPSC guidelines 17 Hazards related to maintenance of surfacing 18 Fall zones • The fall zone is the distance around each piece of equipment that will need surfacing • In general fall zones must extend 6 feet around from the perimeter of any piece of equipment Determining fall zones General requirements: - For composite structures, the fall zone must be 6 feet from the perimeter - Two pieces of equipment that are not more than 30” high can share a use zone as long they are at least 6 feet apart. - Two pieces of equipment that are over 30” high can share a use zone if they are at least 9 feet apart. 20 Determining fall zones for swings • To and fro swings- The use zone is 2 x the distance from the pivot point to the surfacing and 6’ out from the side poles 21 22 Fall zones for tire swings Tire swings- The use zone must be the distance from the pivot point to the tire plus 6’ and 6’ out from the side of the poles . 23 Fall zones for bucket swings Bucket swings- The use zone must be 2 x the distance from the pivot point to the sitting surface and 6’ out from the side poles 24 Surfacing and fall zone issues Lack of a fall zone with appropriate amount of surfacing material Exposed cement can be a tripping hazard and can cause head injuries 25 Entrapment Hazards • Head entrapment areas are between 3.5” and 9” • The child’s body can fit through a space that does not allow the head to pass through • Applies to indoor as well as outdoor environments • Even if the child’s feet are on the ground, the child is in danger of strangulation 26 Another head entrapment hazard 27 Another entrapment hazard 28 Checking a partially bound opening Hazards • Routine inspection and ongoing maintenance is important • Hazards might include: -broken equipment -lack of surfacing -entanglements -head entrapments - weather related hazards such as frozen ground -metal equipment in direct sun light - inadequate shade Supervision Supervision plays an important role in keeping children safe while on the playground. Programs should be encouraged to develop playground supervision and monitoring plan so that staff know and understand their responsibilities. Programs should train staff on how to effectively supervise the playground as well as how to monitor the playground environment. Questions?
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