THE IMPORTANCE OF INSPECTIONS AND MAINTENANCE.
Playgrounds are dangerous. Period. So why have them at all? That thought popped into my mind a few times as I started this journey into playground safety. It quickly became clear that playgrounds are valuable tools that are crucial for a child’s development. They offer a safe outdoor space with sunlight, fresh air, and present opportunities to grow skills physically, cognitively, socially, and more. These valuable experiences make playgrounds a worthy investment for the community, especially when properly maintained and regularly inspected for hazards.
Hazards are dangers unknown to the user. When playgrounds are not regularly maintained and inspected, the chances of serious injury increases. According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database, it is estimated that over 200,000 playground injuries that require hospitalization occur every year (I was one when a kid - more on that next newsletter!). With those numbers being so high, it is the responsibility of every playground owner and operator to do what they can to reduce those chances. Neglecting maintenance not only adds financial liability to the owner / operator, it adds liability to a child’s health and safety. No one wants Mama Bear tearing down their door because her kid was injured on a playground the owner didn’t properly maintain.
Maintenance is key to every successful and safe playground. Small story time: The first email I received after I opened my business was not for a playground inspection inquiry, but from a lawyer. They asked for an expert to determine if negligence was the cause of an injury, where a child was hurt so badly they had to have their spleen removed. After I recovered from that depressing email, I picked myself up and began the journey to help all playgrounds owners / operators keep up with the standard of care, and assist in the prevention of these injuries to the best of my ability. While people will never remove 100% of playground dangers, with regular attention and removal of hazards, the data proves serious injuries are reduced. That is why I am here; that is why I will stay.
Because the data shows maintenance gets results, California is the first state to mandate inspections by a Certified Playground Safety Inspector. Other states have regulations that require the National Standards be followed, but CA is the only state so far to say it has to be by a CPSI, on a regular basis.
With data proving that regular inspections reduce injuries, extend the life of the equipment, and assist in the enrichment of children, it is clear the best choice is regular attention and maintenance to the playground and community areas.