Risks of Play – Exploring injury levels in the Playground

There is always the risk of a child hurting themselves in the school playground. Every now and then it happens; a bang on the head, a grazed knee…hopefully nothing worse! The risks of play are unavoidable to a degree, but there are ways and means to minimize them.

Of course, an injury to a child is never a positive occurrence, but it can be viewed as part of their learning curve in a ‘it-cost-them-a-bruise-but-now-they-know’ kind of way. This week we’re looking at injury’s in the playground and some of the key risk factors of play.

Where are the main risks of play?

Falls from equipment are a leading cause of injury in the playground, with climbing frames and monkey bars presenting the greatest risk at 36% of injuries, followed by trampolines at 22%, slides at 12% and swings at 6%.

Collision accidents in the playground – between children and equipment, or children and other children – account for approximately 34% of play area accident reports.

The key risk factors in the playground

  • Fall-height – the distance and places from which children can fall.
  • Adequacy of impact-absorbing surfaces in fall zones. Strictly, a safety surface is not required if the fall height is 600mm or below, although Playcubed always recommend a safety surface for ultimate protection. Artificial Grass with UltraMat shockpad, Wet Pour and Rubber Mulch can all be used as compliant safety surfaces.
  • Guarding – its adequacy in preventing falls.
  • Elimination of trap points for head, limbs or fingers.
  • Functional design of play equipment for safe usage.
  • Placing of equipment with adequate space between each item.
  • Suitability of play equipment for the size and ability of the children.
  • Children gaining access to defective equipment.
  • Use of second-hand equipment.
  • Crowding on equipment.

What are the playground regulations?

Although injuries cannot be totally avoided in school playgrounds, much can be done to minimise their frequency and severity. At Playcubed, all our play spaces meet BS EN1176 and BS EN1177 regulations, and go through a third party inspection on completion if required. The accreditations we hold prove our committal for responsibly sourcing quality materials and using best practice installation.

Please contact us if your school is considering a new or renovation of a play space.

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