Maintenance of daycare playground equipment
We cannot think of a Daycare without a playground and thus safe daycare playground equipment is one of the criteria of a Daycare. Working parent’s always choose a well-equipped and properly maintained playground equipment. Poorly-maintained playground equipment is the major reason of the ultimate loss of a Daycare owner, and responsible for hazards towards innocent children. As a service provider, a daycare is fully responsible for proper maintenance of the necessary equipment. Children are naturally curious and often face accident if probable hazards are overlooked. The following guidelines for maintenance are immensely important.
Proper equipment spacing
Equipment over 3 feet from the ground would attract children to jump from one to the other. So measure the equipment spacing properly to ensure they are minimum nine feet apart. Inappropriate installation can cause noticeable spaces where the heads of little children may be trapped. The aging of equipment also can create more gaps that need immediate attention.
Hardware and overall condition of equipment
Inspect and observe regularly every part of the equipment and look for loose bolts, hooks, broken equipment, rotting parts of wooden equipment, and sharp edges and defects that can hurt the children. The chains of swings must be strong and well-fitted and its hooks be closed tightly. All screws and bolts should be covered with safety caps. Seasonal maintenance of overall equipment is also necessary such as replacement of sand in sandbox. Change unsafe modification and check protective surfacing before allowing children to play. Daycare playground equipment having broken parts and protruding bolts mostly cause accidents. The dress of little children can snag on the protruding bolts or broken parts. So, whenever broken parts are noticed, the Daycare owner should rope off to protect the children from injury.
Older children prefer bridges or high ladders and guardrails to prevent the equipment from falling off. Proper space between the rails ensure the children’s safety. Provide guardrails for platforms over 30 inches high.
The height of playground equipment for toddlers and preschool kids should be less than 4 feet and for school children the height should not be more than 6 feet.
The type of maintenance and care required for daycare playground equipment depends upon the material of the equipment. Though wooden and metal are usually used for this purpose, they have some drawbacks. Metals used in early days tend to rust fast than modern equipment. Nowadays metal equipment are being replaced with plastic ones which are free from such hazards. One thing which should be kept in mind is that this plastic equipment must also be regularly checked for cracks and if any is found , must be replaced immediately and not repaired.All the playground equipment must have age limitation mentioned on it and the supervisor must take care that the children follow the instruction as mentioned on the daycare playground equipment.
Day care centers must prepare a yearly inspection report about the playground equipment and get it certified by a certified playground inspector of any Government services. Apart from this an outdoor safety log must also be maintained. It would provide a permanent record of the safety measures and can also be used for the purpose of presenting to the parents as well as other Government body if required.
It is at the same time duty of the parents to be aware of safety of the daycare playground equipment.