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Safety Tips For Playground Owners: Reducing Your Personal Injury Risk

by Marilyn Olson

If you own a park or public property that includes a playground for children, safety should be one of your top priorities. In fact, if a child is hurt on your playground equipment, you could face a personal injury lawsuit as a result. While you cannot prevent every accident, there are some things that you can do to minimize the chances of being found liable for the accidents that do occur. Here are a few tips to help you keep your playground safe.

Create A Safe Play Surface

The surface beneath your playground equipment should be your first focus. Make sure that the playground surface is a safe one for the children to play on. Avoid gravel, concrete, or asphalt, because these can be injury hazards. In addition, concrete and asphalt can get hot in the sun, which can pose a burn risk.

Instead, opt for rubber mats or tiles, shredded rubber, or wood shavings as the playground surface. These create a soft, cushioned area for children to jump off the playground equipment, and they won't retain heat, so you don't have any worries about children suffering burns in the summer.

Avoid Structural Issues

Whether they are faults of construction or assembly, structural issues with playground equipment can spell disaster for the children playing as well as for the property owner. In fact, providing playground equipment that is not structurally sound is a definite liability issue. If a child's parents can prove that you knew the equipment was faulty from the start, you will be found liable for the child's injuries.

Luckily, this is typically an easy hazard to avoid. Whenever you install new playground equipment, take time to inspect each component before it is assembled. Make sure that there are no cracks or other damage visible. If there are, require those parts to be replaced before the unit is assembled. After assembly, and periodically throughout the life of the equipment, inspect the bolts and other fasteners to be sure that they are all secure and tight. Check all of the structural components to ensure that there are no cracks or other damage that may have developed over time.

Maintain The Equipment

Neglecting your playground equipment is another serious concern. If you fail to do routine maintenance, you may be found guilty of neglect and therefore liable for any injuries that occur due to the wear and tear that can happen over time. For example, make sure that there is no rust or other wear on metal equipment. Also, keep all wood playground equipment sanded and painted so that there are no chances for the wood to suffer moisture damage, rot, or other wear. For more information, contact a personal injury attorney in your area.