Playground Safety Institute

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    What parents should look for when enrolling their child into childcare facility, crèche or school 2015.Prior to enrolling your child into a new crèche parents should take a good look at the playground and playground equipment that  the early childhood development center  has to offer.

    Impact or Protective Surfacing
    There should be a protective surface underneath all the equipment. The owner or principal of the crèche must provide a certificate of compliance with the SANS 51177 provided by the installer or manufacturer of the playground surface. This is the most important safety feature on playgrounds as this surface absorbs the impact of a child falling from the playground equipment. The safety surface or impact surface reduces the severity of fractures and prevent serious head injuries or brain damage. Grass, tar, paved bricks, concrete and other hard surfaces are not acceptable.

    Compliant Playground Equipment
    The principal or crèche should be able to provide a certificate of compliance with the SANS 51176 for the playground equipment. This certificate is provided by the manufacturer, supplier, installer or importer of the playground equipment provided.

    Yearly Safety Audit
    The crèche or pre-school must provide documentation of yearly safety inspections or audits conducted by a registered and certified playground safety auditor or inspector. You can contact the Playground Safety institute for further verification of registered auditors or inspectors. Please Note  Playground Safety Awareness Course is a basic course and does not qualify as certification to conduct  safety audits or inspections.

    Playground Supervision
    The owner or principle should provide documents with names of staff who are appointed as playground safety
    supervisors and certification for playground supervisors. All Playground Supervisors certified and registered with the Playground Safety Institute will also have First Aid certification.

    First Aid
    First Aid certification is required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993. Make sure staff have valid and in date certification for First Aid. Certification of first aid expires after three years from date of certification.

    The owner or principle of the crèche or pre-school should provide documentation or a copy of the policy for playground safety on their premises. The policy must outline the responsibilities of staff supervising children on the playground. The policy must also include a playground equipment maintenance and inspection program.

    Playground Survey

    Take a tour of the playground and look at the condition of the playground equipment. Look for the following hazards which could be dangerous to your child:
    • Very high playground equipment
    In an early childhood development environment any equipment higher than 1,5 meters high is dangerous even with a safety impact surface below the equipment. Without any approved impact surface 600 mm from the ground level could be fatal if a child falls from the equipment.
    • Unstable or loose playground equipment
    Any playground equipment which has not been secured appropriately can overturn and cause serious injury or death.
    • Loose ropes, wire, cables or chains
    Many strangulations have occurred as a result of loose ended ropes. Ropes should be secured both ends as to not allow a child to get entangled in the rope.
    • Protruding bolts, screws, nails and broken parts of the playground equipment
    Many installers of playground equipment especially wooden playground equipment leave long bolts. screws and other materials as a result of bad workmanship. There protrusions can entangle a child clothing causing strangulation or cause serious wounds from tearing into the flesh of a child.
    • Dangerous cargo nets
    Many children have died from strangulations caused by cargo or climbing nets. The nets must have an internal circumference of less than 430 mm and greater 712 mm. Any measurement in between these tow values are critical and could cause strangulation.

    Tragic Deaths which have occurred on  playgrounds equipment and inflatables

    Girl aged 3 dies from strangulation from skipping rope tied to top of slide

    Toddler dies after being choked by day care playground equipment

    Girl aged 3 dies after becoming entangled in playground equipment on first day

    Swing set falls on girl at school and kills her South Africa

    Cash settlement of 20 Million Dollars for boy sustains serious brain injury after falling from restaurant play equipment onto hard floor

    Two year old girl in coma after swing collapse

    Inflatable amusement ride deaths and injuries

    Five year old boy dies after falling from a bouncy castle and hitting his head on an exposed metal air blower.

    South Africa - Ruan Schlebusch fatally electrocuted from an electrical blower for inflatables.
    22 October 2012- Resort owner fined R250 000 for death of Ruan Schlebusch
    Ruan Schlebusch minutes before his death.

    Airborne Inflatables
    Every year deaths and serious injuries have resulted from inflatables or jumping castle not being tethered or pegged/staked appropriately. The safety standard for inflatables and jumping castles is SANS 54960

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