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PlaygroundEquipment Blog
Friday, December 19, 2014

10 Safety & Installation Tips for Accessible Playground

So you’ve already raised the funds that would make your accessible playground installation a larger than life reality. Before you proceed with the final leg of your children’s access to full-time play time, you might want to look into some safety and installation tips to make this project easier, faster and more enjoyable.

Accessible play paves the way to a sustainable tomorrow. 
Accessibility is not only dedicated to kids who are using wheelchairs.
Whenever the word accessibility is brought up, parents, teachers and other organizations usually look at how a kid on a wheelchair would be able to move around their play area. However, there is a very little number of children with special needs that are on wheelchairs.

Is your playground installation moving above and beyond this common pitfall? If not, rethink your design and perhaps, you might want to look at reworking your game plan while at it.

Weave wheelchairs and elevated ramps in your play area properly.
While you already have provisions for kids on wheelchairs, check whether there’s 15” or less opening for access. While at it, get all the required guardrails and barriers in place.

For elevated ramps and accessible platforms attached at ramp levels, there must be no openings on the surface that is greater than 1/2 “. The vertical change in level should be lower than 1/4“ or up to 1/2“, that also goes with a 2:1 beveled edge.

Since kids with disabilities have different needs, double check the number of handrails and guardrails that you add in your current set up. 
Playgrounds that allow accessibility are without dependable handrails and guardrails. Keep a complete playground safety installation guide within your reach.

Handrails and guardrails may seem little and forgotten. For special children and their guardians though, these are pillars on which they can be more productive and responsive. These machines are built for them to learn the real-life application of being independent and to sharpen their skills and emotions.

Have you ever come across a child with special needs who felt so proud during his/her first brush with an unlocked badge s/he earned while playing? Priceless, isn’t it?

Playground volunteers contribute to keeping the playground safer and less likely to suffer from man-made and natural damage.
Your play area must allow guardians to watch over kids easily.
Playground volunteers contribute to keeping the playground safer and less likely to suffer from man-made and natural damage. An hour or so of playing tires parents and guardians, so the least yet best thing for them is to have an area where they can watch over the kids conveniently.

Of course, kids who are differently abled must be monitored more frequently and more closely. This is because of the special needs they have that may shift abruptly without prior notice. The aim of accessible playgrounds is to provide a training ground for both parents and kids of abilities to build a stronger bond while allowing the children to have their personal

Consider the needs of the community members who will be benefiting from the play area to be installed. Photo from via CircleOfCare ParentsAsTeachers, Pinterest
An accessible play space must be a 15-minute or less walk.
Consider the needs of the community members who will be benefiting from the play area to be installed. Make sure that you have conducted a mini survey that will give you a better picture of the impact this project has. A common suggestion is to build the system in a spot that can be reached in 15 minutes or less by foot.

This allows all playspace visitors to get a good stretch but not to the point that they feel like this a task or worse, a detriment to the engaging with free play.

Check the most strategic spot for the parking space.
Should a kid with disability is challenged with locomotory limits, parking space must be planted near the actual play area. This also applies to parents who are disabled. Again, the point is to give the most convenient experience that does not discourage

Check if the land where your installation will take place is inadequately drained or if it is contaminated.
Playground Foundation is integral in getting a favorable and sustainable return on investment. Make a thorough check of the land where it will be built. First, determine the kind of soil on the site. Then, conduct a study about how fit the site will be for a big play space.

Are there any records of contamination that are not being disclosed to you? It also helps to look at how well the land has been drained. The weight of the play equipment alone is largely dependent on the quality of the foundation, so never overlook this process.

The installation site must be welcoming and at the same time, have a subtle sense of privacy.
This is one of the trickiest parts of playground installation. Striking a balance between safety and providing an area where kids can explore the door to the real world as they interact and engage with kids of all ages, and abilities.
Because of this, routes within and outside the play spaces must be constructed with all playground visitors in mind.

In the case of public playgrounds, the recommended measurement of the accessible route is 60” wide, with a maximum running slope of 1:20. The cross slope ratio is 1:48 at the maximum. On the other hand, the route to the play area must also be an accessible route which has a maximum slope of 1:2 and a minimum width of 36”. Each running slope over and above 1:20 is considered a ramp. This ramp must have landings and handrails.

All adults must be able to move in and out of the playground without difficulty.
Since playtime for children with disabilities is best done with the supervision of adults, the height limits must marry ADA requirements and the average guardians’ built. Doing so ensures that should there be an immediate call for help or assistance, guardians can readily attend to the children’s needs.

Composite play systems that bear a transfer equipment as an aid for access must have the following components: 
  • There must be an 11-18” height of transfer platform on top of a depth of 14” minimum width of 24”
  • The limit for transfer steps should be 8” and this includes handholds for easier movement
  • The minimum for a standard transfer space is 30” x 40”. There must be no obstruction on the side of the transfer platform.
Are all your playground equipment maintenance checks being done before, during, and after the installation? If so, are you certain that you are dealing with experienced professionals?
Planning and rolling out an accessible playground installation boils down to getting the most suitable play systems that will encourage participation among kids and adults of all abilities.
If you are thinking of building your own play space, get in touch with our team of experts via chat or through Playground Equipment’s contact form.

Learn about the author: Jennifer Holmes

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