PLAY SAFETY

Play Safety with Kidsafe QLD - Pre-teen friends sitting on climbing frame in playground

Play is the work of children. It is how they learn and gain life skills, competency and values necessary for a happy and productive adult life. However play can be dangerous. Falls during play are the leading cause of childhood injury requiring hospitalisation.

Kidsafe QLD is committed to promoting the benefits of play for children and can work with you to increase safety in play spaces through our training, inspection and advisory services.

PLAY SAFETY RESOURCES

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We believe that the idea of a play space should be broadened from a confined area that contains only prefabricated fixed equipment, to multiple areas that are diverse, flexible and interactive learning environments. An effective play space:

  • Allows access to nature through various landforms & plants
  • Is where children can be physically active with open areas for running & free play
  • Includes areas for dramatic & creative play, access to a tap for sand play, and loose parts for building
  • Encourages children to make up games, create their own play & rules

Not all play spaces are alike. The play space in an early childhood centre, will have more specific needs than the play space in a public park. Play areas should be appropriately designed for specific groups of children, including those with special needs. Consideration should be given to:

  • The ages & abilities of the children
  • Whether active supervision is available
  • The amount of use a play space will have
  • Whether vandalism is a problem

Kidsafe QLD's Play Space Planning Design Service take the guess work out of the design process. In addition to our comprehensive undersrtanding of the Australian Standards for Playgrounds AS/NZS4486, we also take into account children's social, emotional and intellectual stages of development, as well as their physical capabilities and needs. A successful play space has the following features:

  • Separate zones
  • A range of age appropriate play settings (quiet, active, group or individual play)
  • A wide range of choice in available activities
  • Provision for levels of complexity & challenge (including children with disabilities)
  • A safe and secure environment with plenty of shade
  • An area where play flows between activities and incompatible zones are separated
  • Access and entry points are appropriate for the numbers of users
  • Flexible (containing both fixed and movable parts which can be used in a variety of ways)
  • A safe, durable, long-lasting play environment (quality design, materials and work)
  • Is easily supervised and encourages adult involvement

All play spaces; playgrounds, play equipment, trampolines and indoor playgrounds must meet the Australian Standards for Playgrounds AS/NZS 4486.

Before creating a play space we recommend that you download the relevant Australian Standards to ensure it complies. After completion, the play space needs to be assessed by a qualified inspector to receive a Certificate of Compliance.

As part of your compliance checklist, all play equipment must be marked (as per AS 4685 standard) with the manufacturer's plate stating Australian contact for the equipment, year of manufacture, model number of equipment and standard for which it comes under. Be aware that imported play equipment often doesn’t meet Australian Standards and will render your play space non-compliant.

Once your play space is established, regular inspections are required. Kidsafe Qld can conduct an Operational Inspection on a monthly or quarterly basis to ensure your equipment is well maintained and hazards reduced. We can also conduct a Comprehensive Inspection annually, in accordance with Australian Standards for Playgrounds AS/NZS 4486. This more detailed inspection establishes the overall safety of equipment, foundations and surfaces and should be carried out by a qualified professional.

Alternatively, Kidsafe Qld offers training services for organisations who would like to conduct their own operational and comprehensive inspections.

Play provides opportunities for children to:

  • Learn about themselves, others & the environment
  • Stimulate their imagination and satisfy their curiosity
  • Generate rules appropriate to a variety of situations
  • Appreciate safety as part of their play experience
  • Be challenged to extend and enhance their present abilities
  • Develop logical thinking processes
  • Develop and refine their social skills
  • Experience enjoyment, success and build self-esteem
  • Experience creative and dramatic play
  • Be able to interact with adults in their play area
  • Be a confident leader, individual or team member
Boy and dog playing plane pilots on a lawn.