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The snow will be here soon and everyone will be working on their winter preparation lists. Please don’t forget to put the playground facility on the list! As with any equipment that is subjected to the outdoor elements, adverse weather conditions can have damaging effects. The entire area should be prepared for winter, especially with the thought of continued use during warmer winter days. Below is a quick checklist of safety and maintenance issues that should be examined to be sure your playground is in its safest possible condition.

- Heavy precipitation from winter’s heavy rains can wash away a playground’s surface material. Lack of surfacing material under and around playground equipment is the leading cause of playground related accidents. Refreshing or replenishing the surface material should be done to insure the surface is at the manufacturers recommended depth for the equipment’s fall height.

- The entire playground area should be cleaned of any litter, debris, leaves, and branches that have fallen within the playground environment.

- Adverse weather can loosen hardware on playground equipment. It is a good time of the year to have all of your hardware tightened to insure that nothing loosens during the winter months.

- Heavy precipitation from rain and snow can accelerate wood deterioration. It is recommended that any wood structures be sealed with a non-toxic wood preservative prior to winter.

- Your playground should have a thorough inspection performed in order to identify any hazardous conditions. These conditions include protrusions, entanglements, fall zones, entrapments, and pinch points. It is recommended that a certified National Playground Safety Inspector perform the inspection. Once any hazardous conditions are identified, they should be corrected as soon as possible.

It is recommended that your organization have a program in place for playground maintenance. By having a program, you are insuring that the playground facility will be maintained in its safest possible condition. Your organization will benefit by increasing the lifespan of the existing equipment and protecting itself from exposure to costly litigation. So while you are out in the field getting all your facilities and equipment winterized, don’t forget the playground!

*For any further information concerning your playground-call Playground Medic at (866)-332-3133.