Feature Article - January 2009
Find a printable version here

Safe Havens

Building & Maintaining Safe Playgrounds

By Richard Zowie

More Safety Tips

Grassroots Playscapes offers the following tips for safer playgrounds:

Limit Elevated Play Structures
Provide play events that settle into the landscape and are not exclusively elevated. Children can have as much fun on the ground as they have 6 feet off the ground.

Location Location Location
Locate elevated structures away from the rest of the play space so that they do not encumber circulation. Make sure there is adequate physical and visual access for adults.

Make Necessary Changes
When recurrent injuries occur, have the flexibility to alter the landscape or equipment.

Provide Diversity
Enrich the play area with a diversity of activities to avoid risky behavior due to boredom. Events should not be limited to physical challenges, but should also include activities that exercise a child's imagination and develop social and problem-solving skills.

Guidance, Not Limitations
Allow children to explore their boundaries by letting them confront challenges at their own pace with guidance that instructs rather than places limitations. Intervene at a point when the child begins breaking established rules that are based on a prior assessment of risk.

Keep It Clean
Keep the play area clear of toy debris by providing storage that is accessible to children. Encourage a sense of ownership by asking children to clean up after themselves.