April 25, 2022

Time to Review Playground Safety

Spring brings crowds to city parks as people enjoy the warmer weather and public facilities. A park’s playground is often the most popular place for families. Ensuring your city’s grounds and equipment are safe is vital. April 25 – 29 is National Playground Safety Week, a great time to review your public facilities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that emergency rooms treat more than 200,000 children under the age of 14 every year for playground-related injuries. Most deadly playground accidents occur at home, but 75% of nonfatal injuries are at public playgrounds. While most are at schools and daycares, cities should take steps to review their playground safety procedures.

Public recreational equipment must be inspected and maintained in accordance with national consensus standards, equipment manufacturers, and a city’s general duty of care. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) established the national consensus standards for public playgrounds.

The CPSC publishes the “Public Playground Safety Handbook,” which provides reference guidelines for designing and managing public playgrounds. Cities are encouraged to incorporate the standards into their risk management plan. Additionally, KLC recommends that cities do the following:

  • Identify equipment that may need repair or maintenance or could pose a risk because of its design.
  • Remove equipment that the CPSC does not recommend. 
  • Conduct and document a comprehensive playground safety audit and weekly inspections.
  • Attend the National Recreation and Park Association Certified Playground Safety Inspector course.
  • Ensure proper surface material is maintained at sufficient levels in all fall zones. 
  • Post playground rules, including appropriate age group, hours of operation, and required supervision.
  • Establish written policies and procedures for a playground maintenance program. 
  • Establish a long-term action plan to upgrade sites based on budget and goals.

KLC Insurance Loss Control staff can help your city review its playground safety. Just call KLC Director of Loss Control Greg Partin. KLC Insurance can also ensure your facilities are adequately covered. Contact Director of Agency Operations Jeremy Baird to review your city’s liability policy.