With cold weather on the way winter can do strange things to our facilities. Playgrounds are not exempt from experiencing winter conditions. Three of the most common occurrences you should be aware of for the children's safety.
1. Plastic play components tend to contract or shrink in cold temperatures. This can lead to bolts that were once tight and secure to be loose. This danger could mean a failure in the play piece and potential injury to a child. Be on the look out for loose hardware and correct if necessary.
2. If there is moisture retention in your loose fill safety surfacing (i.e. sand, pea gravel, engineered wood fiber, etc.), it will freeze when the temperature drops below the freezing mark. When the surface is frozen, the impact attenuation (head impact criteria) properties of your loose fill system are lost. Please check your surface frequently in the winter weather and if it is frozen the play area should not be used.
3. Frost can also shift the soil. Most playgrounds have a containment system for their loose fill surfacing. Typically they are wood or plastic timbers that use a stake to keep it in place. If you have one of these systems please check periodically to make sure the stakes have not shifted upwards. If they have shifted they can cause trip hazards and other potential problems. During your periodic surveys of the playground check the stakes and correct if necessary.
If you would like a more in depth discussion about playground safety or are looking to start your 2010 playground goals please call us. Your local Snider & Associates representative would be happy to meet and talk.