Although playgrounds are commonly sought after as a venue for kids and their families to spend an afternoon, these fun zones are also a frequent site for accidents. Did you know that approximately two hundred thousand children in the United States receive emergency room treatment for playground-related injuries each year? In most cases, said injuries derive from accidental falls or misuse of play equipment. Other incidents, however, occur when unsupervised children become distracted and leave the playground. Said incidents can even be legally blamed on playground owners on the grounds of premises liability. A prime example being when a toddler in 2001 left the safety of his neighborhood playground, fell into a pond a mere eight yards away, and tragically drowned. Because of the water hazard’s close proximity to the playground, his heartbroken parents received a settlement of $2.2 million.
To help reduce incidents such as these, PalmSHIELD has developed a new line of playground fencing called PlaySafe, designed specifically for installation around playgrounds. In addition to the protective playground fencing, PalmSHIELD fabricates and installs gates for playground fencing. Whether your playground is located at a school, a daycare center, or a neighborhood park, you’ll want these fences and gates to help secure your property and protect the youngsters.
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Why should I consider playground fencing?
The foremost reason for installing a fence of any kind is to keep out intruders. In the case of playground fencing, that primarily means strangers and stray/wild animals. But it’s also useful for obscuring what the law defines as “attractive nuisances.” These are nearby objects such as water, roads, trains, construction sites, and power equipment that draw kids’ attention but have the potential to cause injury or death. Even if they aren’t harmed by the nuisances or intervening threats (such as abductors), there’s always the possibility of playground users being unable to find their way back. And don’t forget the danger that becomes present when children accidentally throw toys such as balls out of the playground and chase after it—say, into the streets….
Speaking of which: playground fencing can also help a great deal when it comes to preventing vehicular damage. A lot of property owners and parents assume that unless a playground is located directly next to a roadway that there is no danger; but this is a very dangerous assumption. Sometimes a speeding automobile will lose control and go off the street—and sometimes they don’t stop for quite a distance. PalmSHIELD also recommends the installation of curbs for playgrounds that are parallel to roads. The recommended distances are:
- For non-parking streets: 2 feet 6 inches
- For angled parking streets: 4 feet
- For perpendicular parking streets: 5 feet
Playground fencing and curbs won’t necessarily stop a vehicle entirely, but they have the potential to slow down a moving threat and thereby minimize damage. And if there’s a barrier to block toys from leaving the property, kids will have less motivation to leave the playground.
PalmSHIELD is also introducing 36” solid screening panels which can be useful for further obscuring those attractive nuisances.
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What are the requirements for playground fencing?
PalmSHIELD follows regulations set by the American Society for Testing and Materials International, which are designed to keep out intruders and avoid structural gaps posing entrapment issues. ASTM’s F2049 standard stipulates that playground fencing needs:
- A minimum height of 48” above the grade. Defined in accordance with children ages 5 and under, this playground fencing height helps prevent kids from scaling the fence.
- Maximum gap of 4” between the grade and the bottom of the fence. Here at PalmSHIELD, we actually use a smaller distance of 2.” This helps avoid the above mentioned entrapment issues as well as preventing kids, intruders, and large animals from crawling under the fence.
A few stipulations in regards to fabrication. For playground fencing made of vertical and horizontal members with the tops of horizontal member spaced less than 45” apart, the horizontal parts need to be located on the exterior side of the fence. However, if your fence is made of vertical and horizontal parts and the horizontal tops are greater than 45” inches apart, the vertical members need to be spaced no more than 4” apart.
Why is PalmSHIELD’s PlaySafe brand the best playground fencing?
In addition to following the above mentioned guides set by ASTM International, our PlaySafe products feature non-climbable designs and options on security enhancements. This includes the gates mentioned at the beginning of this article, which come in both single and double leaf forms. These gates feature:
- Gate latches set at minimum heights of 48.” Another stipulation set by ASTM, this height was selected to prevent reach from small children. PalmSHIELD installs shields over these latches so that accidental face lacerations do not occur when children come in contact with them.
- Closing doors. Designed to shut behind the user, these gates are great for preventing intrusion.
- Options on panic hardware. If you manage a school playground, having an alarm system is essential. In detecting an intrusion, this hardware emits alarms loud enough to catch attention at nearby homes and buildings.
Customizable playground fencing and gates from PalmSHIELD
The other major selling point that distinguishes PalmSHIELD’s PlaySafe brand from other playground fencing is that our products are customizable in their design. PalmSHIELD employs a team of in-house designers who’ll communicate with you to come up with a look and color scheme for your playground fencing that match the surrounding environment. (For instance: your school’s mascot or the colors of the nearby community buildings!)