What To Look For When Considering Playground Equipment Replacement
Nothing lasts forever and commercial playgrounds are no exception.
Although this equipment is designed to withstand heavy use and long term exposure to the elements, at some point, you need to replace them.
Deciding when that time has come can be tricky, depending on the following variables that affect the life of commercial playground equipment:
- Quality of the structure
- Climate its exposed to
- Weather damage
- Frequency of use
- Nearby wildlife
Read on to find out how you can ensure your playground is always a safe, fun place to play.
Consider Materials Carefully
Commercial playground equipment is usually made out of metal, wood, or plastic. Metal playground equipment can rust while wooden structures can splinter, rot, or draw bugs. When selecting playground equipment, be sure to take into account the material it’s fashioned from in light of the conditions it’s likely to face. No matter what your commercial playground is constructed from, always prioritize safety above stretching the life of your playground by checking its status frequently.
Also consider the materials that your commercial playground is on. Regular mulch decays quickly, so give careful consideration to rubber surfaces, sand, artificial grass, or turf.
Keep Up With Maintenance
Having a playground inspection by a Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) regularly will warn you of any existing safety hazards and tip you off to potential issues. General wear and tear resulting from weather, overuse, or deterioration over time can lead to tripping and otherwise avoidable injuries.
In between CPSI visits, conduct your own regular safety evaluations to minimize any chance of kids getting injured while playing on it. Stay up to date on the latest playground safety requirement and identify any potentially dangerous situations from deteriorating or damaged equipment. These three steps make it easy:
Check Broken Equipment
Repair any broken or malfunctioning equipment immediately. Pay close attention to any piece that includes moving parts, stairs, or support chains, as they pose an extra set of risks. If you have any plastic equipment, check it thoroughly for any breaks and cracks.
Feel for Even Footing
It’s important for you to keep the ground surrounding your playground equipment level. Any divots in the grass, gaps in the surface material or dips in the ground could be a tripping hazard. Check the areas around your playground to make sure it is solid, so you can confidently provide a safe surface to play on.
Get rid of litter and debris as soon as possible, especially food-related trash which can attract animals. Double check walkways, benches, and hidden areas for trash.
Another clear sign that it is time for you to order new playground equipment is when you begin to notice obvious damage or missing parts. Is all the equipment operating the way it was intended to? Dysfunctional, defective playgrounds aren’t fun—and they are likely to be dangerous as well. Don’t wait until you start getting worried calls from parents complaining that your playground is in poor repair—fix those things now! Well-designed playgrounds will allow you to replace only the pieces that are worn out. Obviously, the most popular pieces of equipment will need to be repaired more frequently.
Keep in mind that even if the equipment on your playground is intact and functional, it could still be time to replace and/or upgrade. Make sure your play space reflects current commercial playground trends by changing out pieces periodically.
Put your playground’s surface on your list of items to review periodically. If your playground has loose-fill surfacing, you will need to refill it as needed to ensure playground safety.
Minor wear and tear on your commercial playground is normal, so it’s not always obvious when it’s time to completely replace your equipment. Keep track of which parts of your playground you have had recently or previously repaired to track when it may be time to replace.
If your commercial playground is in need of an update, Metro Recreation carries a wide variety of structures and equipment designed to bring the thrill back into outdoor spaces. Playground equipment that is carefully chosen to perform well in your environment can provide decades of service…and fun!