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1 Close Proximity to the road

Risk:

The playground is connected to the road, which can create a potential risk for vehicular accidents. The open nature of the location can lead to children unintentionally coming near or on the road while playing (Sholiah et al., 2019).

Risk Hazard Management:

  • Clear boundaries can be established by setting up sturdy fences. The fences can act as physical barriers that would separate the playspa from the adjoining road and prevent children from venturing to the roads by accident.
  • Visible signages can be installed in a strategic manner at the entry and exit points as well as to inform the driver to drive carefully in the roads adjacent to the park.

(Pitsikali & Parnell, 2020)

2. Terrain of the park

Risk:

The terrain is uneven and has a lot of dry leaves and grass. Potential obstacles might be canceled by the grass and dry leaves. This can create risks of tripping or slipping on the surface and cause fall related injuries (Van Der Ent, 2021). 

Risk Hazard Management:

  • Regular maintenance and cleaning of the park can be done to remove the dry leaves and any concealed obstacles.
  • Mats and platforms can be used to make the terrain even for playing and create a stable surface that is devoid of obstacles.
  • Constant supervision can help to identify any new hazards. This can be achieved by installing close circuit cameras around the playspace.

(Olsen & Kennedy, 2020)

3. Absence lights for night time use

Risk:

The park does not have any artificial lighting for nighttime use. As a result, the visibility can greatly reduce during sunset causing challenges for children as well as the supervisors and can cause falls or collisions (Loukaitou-Sideris, 2021). 

Risk Hazard Management:

  • Outdoor lighting can be installed in the park which can include solar powered or battery powered lanterns or LED lights around the park and the playspace to ensure optimal visibility.
  • The hours of the playtime activities can be clearly outlined and the activities can be done only in the daytime. This would allow the use of the playspace to be properly regulated.

(Pfautsch et al., 2022)

4 The space is also used for cycling

Risk:

The space is also used for cycling and there is a bike track created in the park. This can lead to risks of collisions as the bike rack is also meant for beginners who might have limited skills to avoid the collisions (Obee et al., 2021)

Risk Hazard Management:

  • The cycling path can be separated from the play area using additional fencing to reduce risks of collision with other children.
  • Traffic rules can be created for the cyclists to ensure optimal safety for the cyclists as well as other children in the playspace. This would also help children to understand and learn traffic rules.
  • Protective gears like knee pads and helmets can further reduce risks of injuries due to collision.

(Pitsikali & Parnell, 2020)

Environmental factors

1 Weather condition

Risk:

Extreme heat or rain can create unfavorable conditions for playing and can cause safety risks for the children in the playspace. The risks can be due to slipping on mud or other slippery surfaces as well as risks of UV exposure in extreme sunlight (Linhart et al., 2019).

Risk Hazard Management:

  • The play activities can be scheduled based on the weather forecast to avoid playing in unfavorable weather conditions.
  • Temporary shelters can be created to safeguard the children from unexpected rainfalls.
  • Children can be instructed to use sunscreen and protective clothing to avoid exposure to UV radiation during playtime.

(Widjajanti & Ristianti, 2020)

2 Insects and wildlife

Risk:

The presence of insects or small animals in the playground can create risks of stings or bites which can cause allergic reactions among the children who are using the playspace. The bites can also create wounds that can have risks of getting infected (Oh, 2023).

Risk Hazard Management:

  • The playspace can be regularly inspected to find any hives or nests of insects that can potentially sting the children during the playtime.
  • The children can be educated on basic safety measures like avoiding contact with insects or animals that can sting or bite them.
  • First aid kits should include medicines to treat bites or stings for prompt treatment.

(Dillane et al., 2019)

3 Conditions of the ground

Risk:

Uneven surfaces of the ground as well as any concealed hazards under the cover of grass and dry leaves can cause risks of tripping, slipping and falling, causing injuries to the children (Loukaitou-Sideris, 2021).

Risk Hazard Management:

  • Guidelines can be set for the use of appropriate footwear that can reduce risks of slipping or tripping.
  • The ground can be assessed in a regular intervals to ensure the terrain is even and leveled and remove any hidden obstacles that can increase risks of tripping.

(Haarbauer-Krupa et al., 2019)

4 Availability of shelters

Risk:

Lack of adequate shelters can expose the children to the risks of sunburn from long term exposure to sunlight (Olsen et al., 2019).

Risk Hazard Management:

  • Temporary shades can be set up in the playspace to give shelter from direct sunlight
  • The play activities can be scheduled when there is maximum availability of shade like mornings or afternoon to reduce direct exposure to sun.

(Cherian & Subasinghe, 2022)

Loose Parts

1 Structural integrity

Risk:

There can be a risk of the structural integrity of the play components and structures like stands, planks, slides or stairs to be compromised which can cause risks of accidental injuries while playing (Moore et al., 2023).

Risk Hazard Management:

  • The play installations and structures should be regularly inspected to ensure that all the safety standandards are being met.
  • Any loose parts should be properly fixed to ensure that the structural integrity of the structure is maintained properly.
  • Good quality and high grade materials should be used to ensure they can withstand rough use.
  • A system for reporting and replacing any worn out or damaged component should be implemented to ensure proper maintenance of the playspace and equipment.

(Obee et al., 2021)

2 Sharp and protruding edges

Risk:

Sharp or protruding edges of various play installations like stands or planks can create risks of abrasions or cuts while playing. Sharp objects like scissors can also cause risks of cuts and lacerations (Sahlberg & Doyle, 2019).

Risk Hazard Management:

  • Any sharp edges should be properly concealed or covered. They can also be made smoother by sanding off the edges.
  • When the children are playing with objects with sharp or protruding edges, it is also important to supervise them properly to ensure they do not accidently harm themselves.

(Olsen et al., 2019)

3 Suffocation hazard

Risk:

Small loose parts like wrapping materials, bags and cups can create risks of suffocation (Yu et al., 2021).

Risk Hazard Management:

  • Small Items can be excluded from the play
  • The parents and supervisors can be trained on how to monitor children during the play time and the emergency procedures in situations of suffocation due to swallowing small objects.

(Khajenasiri et al., 2020)

4 Entanglement

Risk: 

Loose ends of the ropes used for safety equipment, climbing apparatus can create risks of getting entangled and thereby lead to accidents (Kittelson, 2019).

Risk Hazard Management:

  • Ensuring all loose ends of the ropes are properly attached to the associated surfaces to prevent entanglement.
  • Harnesses should be checked frequently after every use to ensure that the ropes are intact.
  • Children can also be taught to notice if the ropes are entangled and how to untangle them before playing.

(Kara et al., 2021)

Humans

1 Poor supervision

Risk:

A lack of supervision or ineffective supervision can increase risks of accidents for the children and also lead to failure to address incidents in a prompt manner (Rouse & Schwebel, 2019).

Risk Hazard Management:

  • A clear guideline for supervising the play activity can be established which can include the recommended ratio for children and supervisors on the ground.
  • The supervisors can also be trained on how to quickly respond to various risks and incidents during play, how to report those incidents and prevent their recurrence.

(Kittelson, 2019)

2 Ineffective planning for emergency response

Risk:

A lack of emergency response plan can lead to responses to accidents to get delayed and thus increase risk of further injuries and harm to children (Robertson, 2020).

Risk Hazard Management:

  • Drills on emergency response planning can be conducted on a regular basis which can ensure proper familiarity with the response plan among the supervisors.
  • The emergency plan should be communicated in a clear manner. This can include contacts for emergency situations for various scenarios that might take place.

(Olsen et al., 2019)

Risk:

Risks of fall can occur for children while using the zipline or using the play installations like slides and stairs. This can occur while mounting or dismounting the installations by losing grip of the structure (Al-Hajj et al., 2020).

Risk Hazard Management:

  • A safe landing zone can be created for the children to ensure that they get a soft landing without injuring themselves in the fall.
  • The installations should be installed with strong grips and harnesses to prevent any slippage. 

(Wenger et al., 2021)

4 Collision

Risk:

Collision can occur between children while using the zipline. The collision can occur with other children who might be on the way of the ziplines or with the posts that connect the zipline (Moore et al., 2023).

Risk Hazard Management:

  • The path of the zipline can be kept clear to ensure no one is in the way. Overcrowding of the play area should also be avoided to prevent collisions.
  • A waiting area should be created for children while they wait for their turn at the zipline.
  • Safety zone or platform for landing should be created to prevent collision with the posts.

(Kara et al., 2021)

References:

Al-Hajj, S., Nehme, R., Hatoum, F., Zheng, A., & Pike, I. (2020). Child school injury in Lebanon: A study to assess injury incidence, severity and risk factors. PLoS one, 15(6), e0233465. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0233465

Cherian, N. C., & Subasinghe, C. (2022). Sun-Safe Zones: Investigating Integrated Shading Strategies for Children’s Play Areas in Urban Parks. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(1), 114. https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/20/1/114

Dillane, D., Richards, S. L., Balanay, J. A. G., & Langley, R. (2019). Risk assessment and recommendations for forester exposure to hymenoptera. Journal of agromedicine, 24(2), 146-156. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1059924X.2019.1567425

Haarbauer-Krupa, J., Haileyesus, T., Gilchrist, J., Mack, K. A., Law, C. S., & Joseph, A. (2019). Fall-related traumatic brain injury in children ages 0–4 years. Journal of safety research, 70, 127-133. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022437518308910

KARA, B., DENIZ, B., KILICASLAN, C., & POLAT, Z. (2021). ASSESSMENT OF PUBLIC PLAYGROUND SAFETY IN AYDIN, TURKEY. https://www.ijramr.com/sites/default/files/issues-pdf/3707.pdf

Khajenasiri, F., Alami, A., Samaei, S. E., Borhani Jebeli, M., Mehri, A., Hamamizadeh, E., ... & Beheshti, M. H. (2020). Investigating the General Safety of Playground Equipment and its Compliance With National Standards. Journal of Research and Health, 10(1), 35-42. http://jrh.gmu.ac.ir/browse.php?a_id=1630&sid=1&slc_lang=en&ftxt=0

Kittleson, C. H. (2019). PLAYGROUND SAFETY. Professional Safety, 64(12), 48-49. https://www.bbinsurance.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Playing-it-Safe-with-Playground-Safety.pdf

Linhart, C., Niedrist, G. H., Nagler, M., Nagrani, R., Temml, V., Bardelli, T., ... & Hertoge, K. (2019). Pesticide contamination and associated risk factors at public playgrounds near intensively managed apple and wine orchards. Environmental Sciences Europe, 31, 1-16. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12302-019-0206-0

Loukaitou-Sideris, A. (2021). Smart Playgrounds? Using Smart and Interactive Technologies to Combat Playground Underutilization. Built Environment, 47(2), 243-263. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/alex/benv/2021/00000047/00000002/art00007

Moore, A., Boyle, B., & Lynch, H. (2023). Designing public playgrounds for inclusion: A scoping review of grey literature guidelines for Universal Design. Children's Geographies, 21(3), 422-441. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14733285.2022.2073197

Obee, P., Sandseter, E. B. H., & Harper, N. J. (2021). Children’s use of environmental features affording risky play in early childhood education and care. Early Child Development and Care, 191(16), 2607-2625. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03004430.2020.1726904

Oh, J. H. (2023). The Challenges of Supporting Young Children’s Outdoor Play in Early Childhood Education and Care Settings. Northwest Journal of Teacher Education, 18(2), 5. https://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/nwjte/vol18/iss2/5/

Olsen, H., Kennedy, E., & Vanos, J. (2019). Shade provision in public playgrounds for thermal safety and sun protection: A case study across 100 play spaces in the United States. Landscape and urban planning, 189, 200-211. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169204618309174

Pfautsch, S., Wujeska-Klause, A., & Walters, J. (2022). Outdoor playgrounds and climate change: Importance of surface materials and shade to extend play time and prevent burn injuries. Building and Environment, 223, 109500. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360132322007314

Pitsikali, A., & Parnell, R. (2020). Fences of childhood: Challenging the meaning of playground boundaries in design. Frontiers of Architectural Research, 9(3), 656-669. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095263520300194

Robertson, J. M. (2020). PLAYGROUND SAFETY: Differences Between Public & Residential Playgrounds. Professional Safety, 65(7), 46-46. https://search.proquest.com/openview/988a43b74326ccb700a60e4bcb2695b4/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=47267

Rouse, J. B., & Schwebel, D. C. (2019). Supervision of young children in parking lots: Impact on child pedestrian safety. Journal of safety research, 70, 201-206. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022437519302191

Sahlberg, P., & Doyle, W. (2019). Let the children play: How more play will save our schools and help children thrive. Oxford University Press, USA. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=0CaeDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=children+playground+risk+sharp+objects&ots=VTbTf02N9s&sig=p6czqscno8x3faDUVrMC1Kudklo

Sholihah, Q., Sari, S. I. K., Pramuditha, V. P., Prayoga, H. D., & Hanafi, A. S. (2019). Evaluation and strategic planning of playground for kids to reduce the accident risk (case study in Immanuel kindergarten Batu city). EXECUTIVE EDITOR, 10(2), 467. http://e-repository.stikesmedistra-indonesia.ac.id/xmlui/bitstream/handle/123456789/77/IJPHRD_February_2019_CombinedIssue.pdf?sequence=30&isAllowed=y#page=481

Van der Ent, D. E. (2021). Ready, set, go! A qualitative study into children’s engagement in and experiences of risky play in their school’s playground (Master's thesis). https://studenttheses.uu.nl/handle/20.500.12932/851

Wenger, I., Schulze, C., Lundström, U., & Prellwitz, M. (2021). Children’s perceptions of playing on inclusive playgrounds: A qualitative study. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 28(2), 136-146. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/11038128.2020.1810768

Widjajanti, R., & Ristianti, N. S. (2020). The Effectiveness of Playgrounds through Vegetated-Setting Approach in Tembalang, Indonesia. Jurnal Teknik Sipil dan Perencanaan, 22(2), 103-109. https://journal.unnes.ac.id/nju/index.php/jtsp/article/view/25985

Yu, X., Miao, L., Zhu, J., Liang, J., Dai, L., Li, X., ... & Kang, L. (2021). Social and environmental risk factors for unintentional suffocation among infants in China: a descriptive analysis. BMC pediatrics, 21, 1-9. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12887-021-02925-4

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