The dirty dozen: Are they hiding in your child's playground?

 

2.Inadequate Fall Zone

A fall zone or use zone is under the area under and around the playground equipment where a child might fall. A fall zone should be covered with protective surfacing material and extend a minimum of six feet in all directions from the edge of stationary play equipment such as climbers and chin up bars. The fall zone at the bottom or exit area of a slide should extend a minimum of six feet from the end of the slide for slides four feet or less in height. For slides higher than four feet, take the entrance height of the slide and add four feet to determine how far the surfacing should extend from the end of the slide. Swings require a much greater area for the fall zone:The fall zone should extend two times the height of the pivot or swing hanger in front of and behind the swings seats. The fall zone should also extend six feet to the side of the support structure.

Click on the thumbnails shown to see a larger more detailed image showing the Fall Zones for swings (picture on left) or Fall Zones and Strangulation Hazards (picture on right).

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3. Protrusion & Entanglement Hazards

A protrusion hazard is a component or piece of hardware that might be capable of impaling or cutting a child if a child should fall against the hazard. Some protrusions are also capable of catching strings or items of clothing which might be worn around a child's neck. This type of entanglement is especially hazardous because it might result in strangulation. Examples of protrusion and entanglement hazards include bolt ends that extend more than two threads beyond the face of the nut, hardware configurations that form a hook or leave a gap or space between components and open "S" type hooks. Rungs or handholds that protrude outward from a support structure may be capable of penetrating the eye socket. Special attention should be paid to the area at the top of slides and sliding devices. Ropes should be anchored securely at both ends and not be capable of forming a loop or a noose.

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