Equipment Options for Kids Play Areas
Parents, teachers, and carers in play areas can be very concerned about health and safety for young children in an adventure playground environment. The primary concern is the potential dangers of using equipment made of metal or wood in play areas where they are likely to contact high soil moisture levels.
This article looks at some non-metal options that may provide suitable safe alternatives to metal equipment when working with children under 5 years old. Check the collection at kids play areas by Orca Coast.
Wooden slides are one of the most popular items outside for girls and boys under 5 years of age. Several styles are on offer, ranging from minimal plain pieces of wood to more complex shaped pieces of brightly colored materials. It is important to note that wooden slides do not incorporate a ‘splash pool’ as the water will be absorbed into the wood, and there is also a risk of entrapment.
Plastic slides are often perceived as safer as the plastic material that they are made from does not absorb moisture or hold it in any way, which means that if children fall on them, they will bounce back up again.
The only safety issue with plastic slides is safety handrails that must be fitted correctly, so children do not injure themselves either by sliding under them or tripping over them whilst using the slide. You must avoid conical shapes! Look out for a new innovative range of transparent plastic play equipment.
You can make tunnels from several materials, including wood, plastic, or even metal. The important thing to note is that if using wooden tunnels, they must be made from untreated timber. Treated, painted, or stained wood should not be used because the chemicals will leach into the surrounding soil, which will increase high moisture levels and pose a serious risk of poisoning for young children who like playing in damp areas.
Plastic tunnels are preferred over metal ones as they are less likely to get rusty, and they do not pose sharp edges for pinching fingers either. Metal tunnels can also corrode over time so check this before purchasing them.
Slide mats provide an excellent non-slip surface that children can slide down on. They are a great option for those play areas that do not have a natural transition from the climbing frame to the ground.
Always make sure that they are removed when not in use, as well as making sure that you keep them well maintained because if they get damaged through UV light or chipping then, this could increase the chances of small children injuring themselves as their toes could curl over sharp edges and become trapped.
Sliding boards make a good option for younger children between 1 – 4 years old who want to experience sliding but may struggle with going down steep drops or even getting to grips with going down slides that require them to sit up at an angle. The only downside is that they need a fairly level.
Sliding boards make a good option for younger children between 1 – 4 years old who want to experience sliding but may struggle with going down steep drops or even getting to grips with going down slides that require them to sit up at an angle. The only downside is that they need a fairly level. Smooth wooden sliding boards are the best option for this, although they have to be securely fixed because if they are only held in place by soil or pebbles, children could easily wrench them free.
Soil play – If your area does not have a good drainage system then avoid using play equipment with large dips and pits where water can pool. Instead you can use garden areas that incorporate high levels of organic matter, where children can dig up the dirt or sand and explore various textures. You could also create a sensory garden filled with different types of soil which you can use to take away and explore later on!