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Children’s play areas on common property: What are the risks?

children's play area

Children’s play areas are typically high-risk areas situated on common property. It is the responsibilities of the trustees to conduct regular checks of the equipment and fixtures which should be well-maintained and kept in a safe condition. It is also important that the necessary disclaimer notices are prominently displayed, and that scheme rules are applied.

Swings and jungle gyms

Play equipment made from gum poles should be checked regularly to ensure that it is securely anchored. At the same time, such an inspection should also include checking for splintering and cracking, and for protruding nails, screws, bolts and brackets.

Swings should be sturdy with the chains firmly fastened and the seats in good order. Swing seats should be made of soft material such as rubber, not wood or metal.

Other equipment, such as jungle gyms should also be checked. Children may tie string or ropes to cross-bars; these should be removed immediately. In fact, all unwanted appendages should be removed as these are safety hazards. Slides should not release children close to harmful surfaces such as any tarred surfaces, concrete, drains and pipes.

Look out for broken glass and dangerous litter. Troublesome children may break glass in the area which may cut the next child.

Supervision required

Children should always be supervised by an adult in the play area. Supervising adults should keep an active and keen eye on young younger children, as they do not anticipate dangerous situations.

Older children may be prone to bullying and there is also the risk of exposure to sex offenders which necessitates extra care and caution.

Author:  Brian Addison.

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