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A Complete Guide to Playground Sanitation and Maintenance

By Whirl Construction (914 words)
Posted in Commercial Playgrounds on September 11, 2020

There are (1) comments permalink

When children excitedly run over to the playground equipment and start touching and jumping on everything, sanitation and maintenance are the last things on their minds. Their focus is on having fun, not whether or not a piece of equipment is slippery or damaged. For children between the ages of 5 and 14, playground injuries are the leading cause of injury. 

As a playground owner, you have the important job of keeping children safe by meeting the public’s expectations regarding the sanitation and maintenance of your playground. 

The Importance of Playground Sanitation

Adorable as they may be, children are little germ magnets. They eat food off the ground, pick their noses, touch everything, and rarely wash their hands. Every time a child grabs hold of the monkey bars or the swingset, they’re touching the same spot that hundreds of other children have touched with their germ-ridden hands. The bacteria found on unsanitary playground equipment can lead to sickness like cold and flu, so it’s critical to be diligent about proper sanitation methods.

Top Reasons for Proper Sanitation:

  • Preventing the spread of harmful bacteria
  • Ensuring the safety of children and their families
  • Avoiding the risk of liability 
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The Importance of Playground Maintenance 

Children are known for being carefree and not paying attention to what they’re doing, so they are prone to slipping or falling on the playground and getting hurt. Properly maintaining playground equipment is key to doing your part in keeping children safe while they play. This means paying close attention to any loose or broken parts, making sure none of the equipment hardware has any jagged edges, and making sure there are no spills that a child could slip on. It’s unlikely that children will look out for their own safety, so you must look out for them. 

Top Reasons for Proper Maintenance:

  • Keeping children safe by minimizing the risk of injury
  • Improving the playground experience for children by ensuring that all playground parts are in excellent working condition
  • Limiting your liability and protecting your investment through careful maintenance

How to Properly Sanitize and Maintain Playgrounds

1. Clean all surfaces with soap and water.

As a first step, all playground equipment must be cleaned with soap and water. Water should be employed at a low pressure, as high pressures can strip away paint and damage the equipment’s surfaces,

2. Disinfect all surfaces. 

According to the CDC, most surfaces can be properly disinfected with diluted bleach solutions made by mixing ? cup bleach into every one gallon of water. The solution should be in direct contact with the playground equipment for at least one minute before being thoroughly rinsed. Equipment should not be touched or played on until it is completely dry, to avoid injury. 

When disinfecting playground surfaces, it’s important to keep these tips in mind:

  • Do research to ensure that the disinfectant product being used is compatible with the surfaces being disinfected
  • When applying disinfectant, wear protective gear such as gloves and eyewear
  • Make sure the expiration dates on your cleaning products have not passed or they will not disinfect properly 

3. Complete regular equipment inspections. 

Regular inspections of the playground equipment are critical in ensuring the safety of all who play on it. This means thoroughly inspecting all the equipment for parts that are broken, loose, cracked, rusted, missing, or heavily worn. Any detected safety hazards should be reported and resolved as soon as possible to minimize the risk of injury. Equipment safety can also be improved with higher quality equipment. For example, synthetic turf is a popular choice for playground surfaces due to its resilience and cushion-like texture which can be beneficial for children who may fall down. 

4. Complete regular inspections of the grounds. 

Inspections of the grounds should occur regularly to ensure that nothing dangerous or out of place is on the playground that could pose a threat to a child. This means checking for trash or debris, broken glass, unauthorized modifications to equipment like the rope swings, tripping hazards, vandalized or damaged property, and insect infestation. As the playground owner, it’s your responsibility to maintain not just the playground equipment itself, but the ground it sits on as well. 

Promoting Safe Playground Practices in Current Times

During these unprecedented times, safety in public spaces is more important than ever; these tips should always be followed: 

  • Maintain a physical distance of six feet from all others when in public
  • If you have to cough or sneeze, steer clear of others and cover your mouth with a tissue
  • Avoid gathering in large groups
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often. If you feel like you may be sick, stay home
  • Always use hand sanitizer after touching playground equipment
  • Avoid touching your face until after you’ve thoroughly washed your hands

Conclusion

It’s the responsibility of any playground owner to maintain a safe and clean environment for children to play in. Now, more than ever, proper sanitation and maintenance are critical to prevent people from getting sick or getting hurt. Each year in the United States, emergency rooms see over 200,000 children under the age of 14 for playground-related injuries. The most important thing you can do to help reduce those numbers is to do your due diligence by keeping your playground clean and well-maintained. 

By cleaning all playground surfaces with soap and water, thoroughly disinfecting surfaces after washing them, and performing regular inspections of both the playground equipment and the grounds, you are doing your part. In addition to enhancing the experience of playground visitors, you are also doing your part to ensure their safety.

Comments (1)

Paul Burton posted on: November 30, 2020

Thanks for providing such a helpful article! Hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol can also be used as disinfectants. More focus should be put on plastic and metal surfaces. This is because viruses can stay alive on them for longer.

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