Playgrounds in St. Louis may not all be created equal, according to the results of a study published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Researchers at Washington University conducted the study, which involved using maintenance and construction information to evaluate the safety of city-run playgrounds in the St. Louis-area. Data used in the study was collected in 2015. Of the 68 playgrounds in St. Louis, 22 were deemed to be below average safety-wise.
Tips to Spot Safety Issues at Playgrounds in St. Louis
The National Safety Council published a list of safety issues that parents should look out for before allowing their children to use a playground. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission came up with the list, which includes the following playground safety hazards:
- Protrusions and Sharp Edges – Playground equipment with edges that are too sharp or have parts that could cut or impale a child, such as hooks, bolts and rungs.
- Protective Surfaces – The surfaces of playgrounds should be made to cushion falls and limit injuries. Acceptable playground surfaces should be 12 inches deep or more and be made of rubber mats, wood chips, sand, mulch, pea gravel, wood fibers or shredded tires.
- Trip and Slip Hazards – The playground should be clear of anything that children could trip over or slip on, such as tree stumps, holes or rocks.
- Improper Maintenance – This just applies to the general upkeep of the playground equipment. It should not be too old or broken. Look for things like swing sets without soft seats or wooden equipment that is warped, rotting, splintered or split.
- Inadequate Fall Zones – There should be a fall zone around all playground equipment of at least six feet. That way if children fall off equipment, they will have a landing zone free of obstructions.
- Lack of Guardrails – If playground equipment includes any sort of raised platform, there should be guardrails on the platform to prevent children from falling off it.
- Unsafe Equipment – There are certain pieces of playground equipment, such as monkey bars, that many safety experts have recommended be removed from all playgrounds, because they are dangerous.
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