If you have young children, have you considered sending them to Head Start?
Head Start is a program meant for vulnerable young children.
The program helps support the development of vulnerable youth. It does so through early learning, health, and family well-being.
Playing is a very important part of the Head Start program.
A Head Start approved playground means children can begin exploring play safely.
Read our playground safety checklist below to see what a safe playground looks like.
The Right Location
Location is an important consideration for our outdoor playground safety checklist. Is it near a busy road or intersection?
A safe playground will have a means of containing the children inside. Park planners often use hedges or fences.
Soil testing should be done beforehand to ensure no contaminants are present.
Every Head Start playground checklist should include access to shaded areas.
The Right Equipment
Some playground equipment isn’t safe for adults, let alone small children.
Parks allow kids to develop by testing their skills in graduated challenges. Look at a playground as an extension of the classroom. All Head Start playgrounds should have age-appropriate structures to challenge their abilities safely.
Head Start parks need to consider accessibility for children with disabilities, too. There needs to be ramps and structures accessible via wheelchairs.
Surfacing materials act as a shock absorber. Soft materials are necessary to prevent injury after a fall.
Concrete and asphalt are extraordinarily hard surfaces. A headfirst fall could onto concrete could be deadly or lead to a traumatic brain injury.
Rubber playground mulch is a safe choice, but it has to be the right kind.
Virgin, non-tire mulch from Jelly Bean Rubber Mulch is the best surfacing material. It’s non-toxic and made using non-tire, lead-free safety tiles. The mulch goes through rigorous testing to ensure all regulations are met.
Non-tire mulch also won’t degrade and rot as a wood material would. It can also last up to 20 years, saving you money in the long run.
The depth of the surfacing material is also important. The Consumer Product Safety Commission Handbook recommends a depth of six inches.
One of the most important playground safety requirements is having regular inspections.
It’s not enough to just erect a playground. Safety inspections ensure there are no dangerous hazards present. A Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) should be able to do all the inspections.
CPSIs take playground safety training so they can check new parks and inspect old ones. Annual inspections ensure everything is in good working order.
Head Start program operators should perform frequent playground inspections themselves, too. They should check for broken equipment, cracking plastic, and displaced surfacing materials.
Swing sets and slides are common areas surfacing materials get displaced. Packed down or non-existent fill surfacing will not do its job in the event of a fall.
Check Off Your Playground Safety Checklist
Head Start playground rules and regulations are in place to protect your child. Over 200,000 children visit emergency departments every year for play park injuries. Following a playground safety checklist can help cut back on those serious injuries.
The right surfacing materials can make all the difference in any playground. If you’re interested in using some for your home playground, contact us for a free quote. Our friendly team will get you started with the safest surfacing materials around.