Play Safety

 
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Kidsafe Playgrounds Across Queensland

Kidsafe Qld is committed to increasing safety in play environments and to promoting the benefits of play for children. Kidsafe Qld can consult with your playground planning and also inspect your playground. Email qld@kidsafeqld.com.au for further information.

All playgrounds in any situation must meet the Australian Standard.

There are Australian Standards covering playgrounds, play equipment, trampolines and indoor playgrounds. All playgrounds must meet these standards.

Any person or organisation considering designing, building, importing or setting up a playground - indoor or out -should download the standards relating to playgrounds from SAI global.  There are rules about soft fall and heights of equipment and inspections etc. that you must know and comply with.

I caution you if you are thinking about importing playground equipment – much of the imported equipment meet does not meet our standards.

You will also need a Certificate of Compliance for your playground.  This means compliance to the Australian Playground Standards.

All playground equipment needs to have clear "Marking" as suggested in the AS 4685 standard,  i.e. a manufacturer's plate stating Australian contact for the equipment, year of manufacture, model number of equipment and standard for which it comes under.

Also, part of the Australian Standards for Playgrounds AS/NZS 4486 it states that a Comprehensive Inspection should be done to establish the overall safety of equipment, foundations and surfaces.  This inspection should be carried out by a competent (and qualified) person of intervals not greater than 12 months.

MORE THAN JUST A PLAYGROUND

Play is the work of children. When children play they are learning. Play allows children to gain the life skills, competence and values necessary for a happy and productive adult life. Because these skills are most commonly learned in the playground, it should reflect our commitment to our children's needs as an interactive learning environment.

Our thinking about playgrounds should be broadened from confined areas that contain only prefabricated fixed equipment, to areas that are diverse, flexible and interactive learning environments. A play area should be a place:

  • That allows access to nature through various landforms and plants
  • Where children can be physically active, with open areas for running and free play
  • Where there are areas for dramatic and creative play, access to a tap for sand play, and loose parts for building
  • Where children can make up games, create their own play and rules

MEET THE NEEDS OF CHILDREN

Not all play areas are alike. A play area in an early childhood centre, for example, will have more specific needs than a play area in a public park. Play areas should be appropriately designed for specific groups of children, including those children with special needs. Consideration should be given to:

  • The ages and abilities of the children
  • Whether active supervision is available
  • The amount of use a play area will have
  • Whether vandalism is a problem
 
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Play provides opportunities for children to:

Learn about themselves, others and the environment

Stimulate their imagination and satisfy their curiosity

Generate rules appropriate to a variety of situations

Appreciate safety as part of their play experience

Be challenged to extend and enhance their present abilities

Develop logical thinking processes

Develop and refine their social skills

Experience enjoyment, success and build self esteem

Experience creative and dramatic play

Be able to interact with adults in their play area

Be a confident leader, individual or team member

FEATURES OF A SUCCESSFUL PLAY AREA

A well-planned play environment should take into account children's social, emotional and intellectual stages of development, as well as their physical capabilities and needs. A successful play area has the following features:

  • Separate zones
  • A range of age appropriate play settings (quiet, active, group or individual play)
  • A wide range of choice in available activities
  • Provision for levels of complexity and challenge (including children with disabilities)
  • A safe and secure environment with plenty of shade
  • An area where play flows between activities and incompatible zones are separated
  • Access and entry points are appropriate for the numbers of users
  • Flexible (containing both fixed and movable parts which can be used in a variety of ways)
  • A safe, durable, long-lasting play environment (quality design, materials and work)
  • Is easily supervised and encourages adult involvement