It may seem hard to believe it (current temperatures and recent snowstorms considered), but warmer weather is just around the corner, and we'll soon be thinking about spring and summer activities. Among them, parks and playgrounds, which seem to draw us in when the temperatures warm up.
These areas are pretty much idle during the cold weather so when it begins to warm up it is important to evaluate these facilities to make sure they are in good condition for the upcoming season. Melting snow and ice can reveal areas that need to be addressed, such as fallen branches, trash, poor drainage, vandalism, etc.
When the snow finally melts, it's a good time to inspect playground equipment and grounds, and to remove any hazards.
With respect to playground equipment, some of the more frequent problem areas we sees are insufficient fall material, exposed concrete footings, cracked/broken plastic, loosened nails/bolts, etc. These can all pose a risk of injury and should be repaired.
Parks and playground equipment should have an initial inspection completed prior to the areas being used for the season. Ongoing inspections should also be completed throughout the season to make sure the areas are safe and in good working order. All inspections should be documented so there is a written record of the maintenance.
The Consumer Products Safety Commission Playground Safety Handbook is a great resource, as it details playground safety and maintenance standards, as well as checklists to use for inspections. A copy of the handbook can be found here.
We hope it comes in handy as you work through parks and playgrounds inspections and repairs this spring. Remember, maintaining parks and playgrounds in optimal condition can help keep children and others safe while using these facilities.