New York City isn’t just a concrete jungle: it is home to numerous parks and playgrounds where parents can treat their kids rather inexpensively during weekends. The problem is, these outdoor places can also increase the risk of serious injuries among children 14 years old and below. So, how do you make these places safe for the kids to have fun, explore, and socialize?
NYC strongly suggests that parents supervise their children, especially toddlers when playing. Parents should check the equipment beforehand, making sure they’re not too tall for the kids to climb. The city prohibits children under 2 years old from climbing equipment that stands more than three feet high.
Take note, though, that some playgrounds are exclusively for children, which means adults can only stay if they accompany children 12 years old and below.
As no playground should discriminate against any children, communities should strive to build accessible amenities of all levels. For example, accessibility level 1 means the play area has ramp equipment, ground-level play equipment, and tables and drinking fountains accessible by wheelchairs. Level 4 is an accessible playground with a transfer platform.
The surface material must provide enough cushion to reduce the impact of a child’s fall. In NYC, some of the acceptable materials include sand, recycled rubber, wood mulch and chips, and pea gravel. The depth of the filling depends on the material and the height of the play equipment.
A lot of community playgrounds are multipurpose spaces, so there may be a soccer field and a swimming pool near the children’s play area. To further reduce the risk of injuries and accidents, planners may surround each section with a boundary fence. Chain-link fences are strong, but they give children and supervising adults a clear view of the other parts of the playground.
Designing playgrounds should be more than aesthetic. It must be safe yet accessible and varied enough to motivate children to play and get to know other kids. Work with a landscape architecture firm in New York City to come up with the ideal layout.