4. Entrapment in Openings
Enclosed openings on playground equipment must be checked for head entrapment hazards. Children often enter openings feet first and attempt to slide through the opening. If the opening is not large enough it may allow the body to pass through the opening and entrap the head. Generally, there should be no openings on playground equipment that measure between three and one half inches and nine inches. Where the ground forms the lower boundary of the opening is not considered to be hazardous. Pay special attention to openings at the top of a slide, openings between platforms and openings on climbers where the distance between rungs might be less than nine inches.
5. Insufficient Equipment Spacing
Improper spacing between pieces of play equipment can cause overcrowding of a play area which may create several hazards. Fall zones for equipment that is higher than twenty-four inches above the ground cannot overlap. Therefore there should be a minimum of twelve feet in between two play structures. This provides room for children to circulate and prevents the possibility of a child falling off of one structure and striking another structure. Swings and other pieces of moving equipment should be located in an area away from other structures.
6. Trip Hazards
Trip hazards are created by play structure components or items on the playground. Exposed concrete footings, abrupt changes in surface elevations, containment borders, tree roots, tree stumps and rocks are all common trip hazards that are often found in play environment.