A playground jungle gym can help kids burn energy, but with great activitity comes great irresponsibility. Injuries are inevitable. That said, injuries on different jungle gyms can mean very different things. Some gyms leave kids with splinters. Others leave kids with a limp. For parents, this means that being able to assess the threat level of play equipment — ideally without being totally neurotic — is critically important. But how can a parent tell if a playground is harboring hidden danger? Well, for one thing, they can look down.
“Falling onto a surface is the number one cause of injuries at a playground,” explains Brian Johnson, spokesman for the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association. “So, if a parent walks up and they see exposed concrete or grass growing that’s going to tell you that the playground surface is probably not safe.”
Johnson suggests parents take a look at the vertical posts that support the equipment. These posts, by necessity, are anchored in concrete footings. If those footings are exposed, that’s a good indication that the depth of the play surface material, be it sand, rubber or wood material, is too shallow. The upshot? Very little cushioning if a kid happens to take a header.
If the surface looks safe, parents should also look for signs of disrepair. A playground that looks ragged and old, may simply not be worth the chance. In fact, IPEMA notes that parents should…