playground swings use zone

The swings are too close to the fence, the use zone is too short.

Most Common Injury on Playgrounds

Children are more prone to falling as they are still growing and gaining balancing skills. Playgrounds need to be designed to accommodate the inevitable, resulting falls. A good way to prepare a playground for accidents is through use zones. Each piece of equipment has its own use zone and installations must follow use zone guidelines and recommendations. Use zones ensure an appropriate amount of space is available in case a child should fall. Any obstruction that falls within a use zone is a hazard and could cause an injury. Falls are the most common cause of nonfatal injuries on playgrounds. Children usually fall into another piece of playground equipment. It is important to make sure all playground equipment is up to code to keep children safe while they are playing in addition to following use zone regulations. Many playground falls result in injuries due to improper safety surfacing. It is important to pick a surfacing that lessens the chances of children tripping. It is also important to maintain the surface and repair it immediately when needed.

Important Statistics on Playground Falls:

  • There are over 220,000 playground injuries per year. 76% are on public playgrounds. 79% of those injuries result from falls. NRPA 2014
  • 10% of the falls children take are onto other parts of the equipment.

Use Zones

The use zones are defined as the areas around or underneath equipment. When children fall, they are expected to land inside of a use zone. The universal minimum for use zones is six feet. There should be at least six feet surrounding a playground on each side. Make sure that equipment is not too close and follows these use zones regulations to eliminate the chance of children hitting other equipment. Again, safety surfacing is crucial. Surround the six feet around each piece of equipment with the proper surfacing. Some pieces of equipment have more specific use zone regulations, so it is always important to audit or inspect a playground to ensure that the proper codes have been followed.

Falls: The Basics

Why are use zones important on the playground?

Use zones are put in place in order to minimize the possibility of injury. Without use zones, accidents and injuries would be much more common. They prevent children from falling into other playground equipment, onto improper surfacing, or into any other kind of obstruction. Falls are inevitable, but proper use zones are integral to preventing injuries as a result of those falls. Equipment that lacks proper spacing could allow for children to easily bump their heads or other body parts when they fall or trip.