Skip to main content

Spain and Children's Playgrounds!

I just arrived back from Spain a few weeks ago and already miss that wonderful place. What a beautiful and amazing country. I visited ten cities in just about two and a half weeks. When I arrived home, I felt as though I needed a vacation from what was supposed to be my relaxing summer trip.

What clean and friendly cities all throughout southern Spain! The food was less exciting than I had hoped. No real variety or flavor. What a disappointment...

And of course, I could not help myself and inspected a couple of playgrounds while I was there.

Wow, what a horrific site! Safety, what safety? It was a disaster.

Most of the play areas were in poor condition and not maintained as well as the city sidewalks. In Madrid the sidewalks get cleaned every night with power washers at roughly 12:30am (Madrid begins to get dark at about 10:00pm during the summer and dinner and everything is just later in Spain) but I digress, sorry…

The equipment as I stated, was not maintained after it was installed and the safety surfacing was the Poured-In-Place type. However, it was not completed with an adequate pour that would meet the minimum use zones nor a thickness that would meet the critical fall heights.

Let me explain further. The play structure needs to have a minimum safety padding around the play structure that will “catch” the child in case of a possible fall. The recommendation from the Consumer Product Safety Commission is 6 to 8 feet. I usually recommend a more stringent requirement of a minimum of 8 feet from the play structure. The Critical Fall Height of the play structure in our industry is typically measured from the platform height of the equipment. I again, use a stricter point of view here and look for any possible areas where a child may be able to gain access to, and will use this as a Fall Height Criteria. The Head Injury Criteria is to simulate a hypothetical child’s head falling to the surface. The purpose is obviously to minimize a serious head injury. So the play surfacing thickness underneath the play structure needs to be adequate enough to minimize this potential critical injury.

The overall play environment was poor and not stimulating for children. I could speak volumes of what it did not have and if you look at the "Collective Safe Play Environment" list, I think you can come up with your own conclusions. A picture is worth more than a 1000 words. So I have attached a few pictures.

Spain, like the United States, needs to spend more time in providing safer play environments for children. For both countries it starts from the bottom with Industry Experts, Community Leaders and Parents putting pressure on the local municipalities. Both countries need to create effective leadership councils that consists of the Experts, Community Leaders and Parents that can create educational guidelines, funding, and finally, enforcement to have municipalities take this seriously. The well being of our children is at stake.


Popular posts from this blog

Consensus Lacking on Playground Supervision Ratios

It’s clear that adult supervision is the best way to prevent mishaps on playgrounds, whether they be school yards, back yards, parks or wherever groups of children gather to play. But an important aspect of this, narrowing down a viable ratio of adult supervisors to children, remains elusive.

The answer, of course, varies depending on the dimensions and specific characteristics of a playground, the age range and number of children present, as well as legal and administrative factors.

So the key question remains, how many adult supervisors should be present? And while there’s far from a consensus or clearly defined mandate, playground supervision is definitely an active, ongoing topic of discussion in the realms of tort lawyers, government agencies, educators and the broader playground safety community.

Columbia, South Carolina law firm Duff, White & Turner provides a detailed recommendation: “In the area of supervision, school districts should establish an appropriate adult to stud…

Backyard Playground Safety Issues

Safety in backyard playgrounds is obviously just as necessary as at public facilities.
"Ten years ago, a study conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission discovered more deaths occurred on backyard playground equipment than on public playgrounds," recently reported. "A 2009 study from the CPSC found that 40 deaths were associated with playground equipment between 2001 to 2008, the majority of which were the result of hangings or asphyxiations."
Toward preventing such tragedies, the article highlights "location," "equipment," "surfaces" and "inspection" as the keys to a consistently safe backyard play area.
Playground placement is especially emphasized:
"Location, location, location! A home playground's location is very important. When deciding where to put a playground, consider its accessibility."
Earshot distance is a suggested gauge for determining a reasonable distance for responders -- be…

Tips for Safe Play Indoors

Outdoor playgrounds are of course a key area of focus when it comes to safety as well as educational and entertainment value, however indoor play areas also deserve a similar level of attention.

Sometimes what appears to be the most obvious of common sense solutions -- keeping the floor clear so people won't trip -- often gets overlooked in the fray of everyday school or family life. A recent article by Daniel Akinson points out the fact that a leading cause of injuries that happen inside the house or classroom result from toys not being picked up.

"One specific danger and one that is usually ignored are all the kids’ toys that have not been picked up," the article states. "This can definitely be a hazard if the living area is doubling as a play area."

The magazine provides the following advice on how to prevent accidents that can lead to minor or at times serious injuries:

• "Designate a particular area of the room in which the kids should play" and m…