Prioritise Safety When Building a Backyard Play Area

A PlaygroundMagazine-style backyards are something every homeowner has aspired to have at one point, but a household with children somewhat spoils such wistful remodelling plans. All children see in a yard is an expanse for playing and not much else.

Children love a good playground, and will happily spend entire afternoons running and tumbling around with the least regard for safety. They climb and slide wherever they are permitted, increasing the risk of injuries like concussions and fractures. It is therefore important to design a yard that prioritises safety alongside functionality and fun.

A report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that between 2001 and 2008, 19% of playground injuries happened on home playground equipment.  Creating safe play areas for kids entails getting proper playground equipment that minimises the risk of harm. The Canada Safety Society encourages parents to remember the 5 S’s of Playground Safety (surface, structures, site, supervision, and safety) to help them choose the right equipment and backyard design.

  • Surface – Falls are the most common playground accidents that cause injuries. Choose materials that can absorb surface impacts like sand, rubber, pea gravel, or wood chips stacked about 30 centimetres.
  • Structure – The play equipment’s structure should be built with durable materials. Climbing frames made of wood must be resistant to decay, and subject to regular inspection for any signs of damage.
  • Site – Make sure that the landscape you plan to set the playground up is free from obstructions that kids can potentially hit while playing. Avoid low-hanging branches and fences, as well as areas in direct sunlight. Certain materials with prolonged exposure to the sun can burn your children’s skin.
  • Supervision – Always have an adult keep an eye on kids while playing. Remind children of the proper usage of play sets and the consequences of reckless play.
  • Safety – Follow installation instructions to the letter. Secure all posts to the ground properly, space railings in a way that prevents children from getting stuck, and check for any sharp edges or excessive wear that might cause injury. Put away any tools and items you might have used during installation in a secure storage space.

Letting your children play outside promotes an active and healthy lifestyle, but it should never be at the cost of safety. Creating a backyard playground lets children enjoy their extra home space under safe supervision by parents.