‘Play’ provides an opportunity for children to develop motor, cognitive, perceptual and social skills. Unfortunately, playgrounds are often the sites of accidental injuries. It is estimated that approximately 500,000 injuries to children occur on playgrounds each year, of which almost 60% are related to the equipment installed at the playgrounds. Such glaring figures are certainly a call for the attention of all stakeholders.
It is imperative to foresee, anticipate and plan the prevention of injuries and accidents. From the very start, due diligence ensures selection and usage of the ‘right’ product. The top five causes associated specifically with the management/ organization that can often amount to negligence are broadly listed as:
1. Inadequate research and understanding of needs
2. Poor equipment design sensibility
3. Failure to comply with international safety standards
4. Incorrect installation due to lack of technical expertise
5. Absence of inspection and maintenance
Promoters will always be liable and held responsible (many times personal) for what happens at the project venues. Clearly, the safety and well-being of children is a non-negotiable premise that cannot be ignored. There are a few pointers that could assist in appropriate decision making while choosing playground equipment:
1. Opt for certified playground equipment –
The certification standard for playground equipment is EN1176 and is recognized globally. Any equipment certified by a recognized body such as TUV, IPEMA, SGS or equivalent is considered to be ‘play-safe’ and has passed stringent tests of durability, safety, and quality.
2. Obtain professional design and layout advice
While this is the last piece that is considered in a huge project, it is a big part of design and layout. It’s important to plan the area for installation, provide sufficient space and accommodate all requirements.
3. Professional installation
Ensure that equipment is installed by competent professionals in accordance with EN1176; A wrong installation can prove detrimental in the long run for users.
4. Inspection of playground and equipment regularly
Inspect the equipment on a weekly or monthly basis for any wear and tear due to frequent usage. Alert supervision, prompt action if any issues are noticed and follow-ups are crucial.
5. Equipment Maintenance
Tie up with the equipment manufacturer for an effective maintenance program which repairs faults quickly.
Children will be children, they will jump, push, pull and hurt themselves too. However, understanding the fine line between accidents and negligence can reduce mishaps. We urge awareness of the above in making the right choice, whilst planning a warm friendly safe environment for children to play and grow in.
We are changing the way this world plays: Our mission is actualized with every responsible action.