No matter how durable your commercial playground is, all structures can reach a period of obsolescence where the age of the building materials may pose a threat to the safety of children. One of the concerns owners of these older play structures have is the ability to determine what equipment requires replacement, and when.
In addition to visual inspection and natural wear of your commercial playground equipment, there are other certification standards and guidelines that have changed, which make certain types of older playground equipment less viable. We’ve provided a checklist of factors to help you determine if it is time to replace your structures or independent play equipment.
Themed & Animal Swings
You have likely observed this style of commercial swing set at a children’s park, in the toddler or aged 2-5 area. Hard plastic swings were a great design for toddlers and offered some whimsical imaginative play due to the shapes, from vehicles (fire trucks, airplanes, etc.) to animals such as elephants and giraffes, though the most common were teddy bear swing seats.
In 1995 the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) advised the removal of this type of hard, plastic swing due to the weight and potential for injury with the hard frame. Children can be struck by an occupied swing and sustain a significant head or falling injury. In other words they acted as a heavy pendulum that children could use as swinging projectiles. They were a durable swing style to protect the toddlers that would swing inside them, and may still remain in some commercial parks or residential playgrounds, but it is advised that they be removed to prevent injury.
Pressure Treated Wood Structures
The ability for pressure treated lumber to be resilient against the elements made it an ideal choice for everything from residential decking to commercial playground structures. The chemical treatment of pressure treated lumber makes it impervious to insect and fungus, moisture and decay.
The compound most frequently used to pressure treat lumber is Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) which contains arsenic. Some cedar and redwood varieties may not have required pressure treating and may be CCA free.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommended in 2003 that pressure treated playgrounds be dismantled and disposed of in an appropriate way to avoid further environmental contamination and leaching of the sealant.
Real Tire Swings
There is nothing like fun in a classic tire swing for kids. The image alone of one mounted on rope hung from a tree branch is enough to bring a whole host of nostalgic memories for many people. But untreated tire swings can create many health and wellness risks for children. Untreated (non-coated) tires can accumulate mold, and if hung vertically, gather standing water which can be a breeding ground for insects. Consider a horizontal design that inhibits the water collection and replace your old tire swing with a new model that has been treated to resist the development of mold.
Modern playground equipment provides innovative new manufacturing methods that help reduce safety risks and health risks by providing UV stabilized, rotationally molded designs that resist mold and help to prevent injury. For instance, check out our Roto-molded Plastic Tire Swing. If it’s time to upgrade your commercial playground, call the play experts at American Parks Company for professional service at 1-800-381-4491.