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Ten points to keep in mind
- Install and maintain shock-absorbing surface around the play equipment. Use at least 9 inches of wood chips, mulch, or shredded rubber for play equipment up to 7 feet high. If sand or pea gravel is used, install at least a 9-inch layer for play equipment up to 5 feet high. Or, use surfacing mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials.
- Install protective surfacing at least 6 feet in all directions from play equipment. For swings, be sure surfacing extends, in back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar.
- Never attach or allow children to attach ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines, or pet leashes to play equipment; children can strangle on these.
- Check for hardware, like open "S" hooks or protruding bolt ends, which can be hazardous.
- Check for spaces that could trap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs; these spaces should measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.
- Make sure platforms and ramps have guardrails to prevent falls.
- Check for sharp points or edges in equipment.
- Remove tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.
- Regularly check play equipment and surfacing to make sure both are in good condition.
- Carefully supervise children on play equipment to make sure they are safe.
Remember, if you are a child care provider or thinking about starting a child daycare, each state has regulations that you need to consider before planning your out door play area. For links to your state daycare regulations, click here.
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