Playgrounds around the world have been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic and the National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) encourages early childhood programs, schools, and communities to be attentive in collective efforts to slow the spread of the virus. As communities begin to lift restrictions for recreational facilities, not only parents are thinking about safety. Facilities managers, playground attendants, park superintendents, and equipment installers also need to consider increased safety protocols and be active for National Playground Safety week. Armacell is proud to provide foam protection solutions and celebrate National Playground Safety Week.
Playgrounds provide a safe hub for sports, playing, family events, and space for communities to come together. These facilities are also locations where unintentional injuries occur and places where children are exposed to hazards. More than 500 children per day are injured and require medical attention from playground injuries across the US. Slips, trips, falls, and impact injuries are common, but temperatures and surfaces can also get hot which may lead to children being exposed to UV radiation, intense temperatures, and possibly thermal burns.
Key safety tips:
1: Don’t Forget Social Distancing (6+ ft and Avoid Overcrowded Areas)
Just because the playground is open does not mean that social distancing is no longer in effect. Understand your local community’s regulations and guidelines for social distancing.
2: Playground Sanitation
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance suggests that it is impractical and an inefficient use of resources to spray disinfectants on outdoor areas, and recommendations are simply to continue existing cleaning practices. NPPS encourages particular attention to be paid to high-touch surfaces, such as handrails with EPA approved disinfectants for COVID-19 and other pathogens.
3: Practice S.A.F.E.™ Play
It is important to remember to emphasize Supervision, Appropriate Environments, Fall Surfacing, and Equipment Maintenance for S.A.F.E.™ play. Supervising children at play and reporting maintenance concerns to staff is key. Environmental health considerations are also vital as using sunscreen and hand sanitizer can help keep children disease free. Protecting children from falls is equally important. Often made of metal, plastic or wood, playground and indoor playscapes are built to withstand the weight of jumping and running children. It is important that we protect and cover as many surfaces as possible to reduce potential injuries. Armacell’s foam tube and padding products can be wrapped around any hard surface or sharp edge. Armacell’s OleCell is a polyethylene foam padding with a wear resistant outer layer that is an ideal protection choice for playgrounds. It is light weight, easy to clean, mold and UV resistant and easy to install. Our high-quality, lightweight foam cores are designed for safety, longevity and performance. Facilities maintenance can help keep children safe by ensuring proper procedures and signage is up to date and clear for visitors. Also practicing routine maintenance and sanitation procedures is essential especially as families return to use playgrounds.