Here are some things to consider from KidsHealth.org:
East Fishkill Recreation area
- Concrete, asphalt, and blacktop are unsafe and unacceptable. Grass, soil, and packed-earth surfaces are also unsafe because weather and wear can reduce their capacities to cushion a child's fall.
- The playground surface should be free of standing water and debris that could cause kids to trip and fall, such as rocks, tree stumps, and tree roots.
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Robert E Post Park Kingston
- There should be no dangerous materials, like broken glass or twisted metal.
- The surfaces may be loosely filled with materials like wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel, or shredded rubber. Wood chips containing chromated copper arsenate (CCA) treatment are not recommended since the material can pose a potential health hazard.
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Benedict Farm Montgomery
- Surfacing mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials are also safe.
- Rubber mats and wood chips allow the best access for people in wheelchairs.
- Loose-fill surface materials 12 inches deep should be used for equipment up to 8 feet high. The material should not be packed down because this will reduce any cushioning effect.
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Sally's Dream Thomas Bull Memorial Park Montgomery
- No surfacing materials are considered safe if the combined height of playground and the child (standing on the highest platform) is higher than 12 feet.
- The cushioned surface should extend at least 6 feet past the equipment. Additional coverage may be needed, depending on how high a slide is or how long a swing is.
- If there is loose-fill over a hard surface (like asphalt or concrete), there should be 3-6 inches of loose-fill like gravel, a layer of geotextile cloth, a layer of loose-fill surfacing material, and then impact mats under the playground equipment.
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Memorial Park Beacon
Keep in mind that even proper surfacing can't prevent all injuries. Also, the greater the height of the equipment, the more likely kids are to get injured if they fall from it.
Safety checklists are also available from the CPSC or the National Program for Playground Safety.