Feature Article - November 2010
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Play Date

What's New on the Playground?

By Deborah Vence

Safety and Security

Children need to be safe and secure on the playground, and so the latest features in safety and security are ensuring just that.

A Monett, Mo.-based playground equipment manufacturer introduced a new security system in 2009 designed to prevent crime.

"In certain areas where playground vandalism has occurred, the [new security system] can protect the equipment with its motion-activated sonic screen, and then videotape the vandals for future prosecution," said Don Hemingway, vice president of business development for a Huntersville, N.C.-based playground and recreational equipment manufacturer, adding that the video surveillance and sonic screens are "deterrents which have proven to reduce crime."

And, the company currently has several operational security installations in playgrounds, city parks and schools, Hemingway said.

In addition, Shane Lanier, founder and owner of a Carrollton, Ga.-based commercial recreation equipment distributor, said that some manufacturers are using a C-Line clamp system to attach components to playground support posts.

"This eliminates the old post clamp system that created hand holds and foot holds where children could climb on parts of the playground that were not necessarily designed for climbing," Lanier said.

Meanwhile, he said the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recommended a minimum of nine inches of loose fill material as opposed to the old standard of six inches.

To boot, other more recent safety features include "adding shade to the play structure to lend protection from harmful UV rays," Lanier said.

He also advised that though there are many playground manufacturers, "be sure that your playground is manufactured to the stringent standards. Check that the equipment is IPEMA certified. IPEMA is a third-party testing that ensures that the playground equipment not only meets ASTM and CPSC standards but also maintains that the factory is knowledgeable and prepared to meet those standards."