What's the Buffer Zone?
a buffer zone, covered with a protective surfacing material, under and around
all equipment where a child might fall. The protective surfacing material should
extend a minimum of 6 feet in all directions from the perimeter of the equipment.
To prevent further injury from a fall, this area must be free of other equipment
and obstacles that might strike a child.
Dig a Pit
(sand, fine gravel, mulch, wood chips, etc.) material requires a method of containment
such as a retaining barrier or excavated pit. It also requires good drainage underneath
the material, periodic renewal or replacement, and continuous maintenance (e.g.,
leveling, grading, sifting, raking) to maintain its depth and to remove foreign
Replace Loose-Fill Periodically
Wet weather, freezing
temperatures, normal use over time, and contamination will decompose, pulverize,
and compact material. Be sure to renew or replace it before it turns hard.
Nitty Gritty on Sand and Gravel
Although cheap, sand is the least desirable
option. Sand can scatter easily outside of your containment area. It also hardens
quickly when wet, is abrasive to floor surfaces when tracked indoors, and attracts
animals as a litter box. Gravel is more difficult to walk on and can present a
tripping hazard if scattered.
Swing Safety Zones
should be securely anchored. Swings also should have a buffer zone with protective
surfacing extending a minimum of 6 feet from the outer edge of the support structure
on each side. The use zone in front and back of the swing should be even larger,
and extend out a minimum distance of twice the height of the swing as measured
from the ground to the swing hangers on support structure.
To prevent injuries from impact with moving swings, swings
should not be too close together or too close to support structures. Swing spacing
should be at least 8 inches between suspended swings and 8 inches from the support
frame. The minimum clearance between the ground and underside of swing seat should
be 8 inches.
That's how to create the best buffer zone between your child
and potential injury. Now, read on for more equipment safety guidelines.
Consider a contractor if you are not handy. Poorly installed playgrounds can be an added hazard.
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