Playground safety planning is essential to maintain proper safety for children during playtime, learning social and problem solving skills, with adults doing their part fo make sure injuries are minimized (especially when, not if, the playground is used in unintended ways). It can take a lot of effort, yet it's important to make the time to learn about what is and isn't safe, learning about age appropriate playground equipment, ADA accessibility legal requirements, picking the proper sub-base & drainage system, comparing safety surfacing, understanding the necessary maintenance for everything, and doing all of this within the rules and regulations established for playground safety (preferably better).
Mistakes or making a bad decision for a playground can be expensive in the form of repair or replacement costs, creating unsafe conditions that could result in injuries or even death. Even if neither of those occurred, you could still be dealing with playground closure, potential claims and litigation. It's too late for "would've," "could've" or "should've" after some unintented injury (or worse) occurs, usually with consequences. Sometimes it's best to call in and rely on a professional Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) to mitigate possible liabilities in advance (our founder is a past CPSI, nationally published author & seminar presenter).
Part of any playground safety plan includes understanding and adhering to all installation and maintenance recommendations by any applicable manufacturer, distributor or supplier of equipment, surfacing and other materials used in and around playgrounds. Gather all the facts to make the best & most informed decision possible. Ask questions. Learn how time, weather conditions and other elements affect everything in the playground.
Plan in advance by assigning responsibility for proper maintenance, including the creation of a checklist for regularly scheduled inspections to identify and document wear or other damage, vandalism, loose bolts or missing nuts, how to properly repair damage when possible, knowing when to replace, what frequency of maintenance is required, and at what price. The saying "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail," is never more true than with playgrounds, and no one wants to look into a distraught parent's eyes and tell them you failed their child's safety.