Playgrounds are places of fun and entertainment, but they can also be hazardous in the wrong conditions. That’s why it’s important for boards to promote HOA playground safety by following these tips.
How to Maintain HOA Playground Safety
When you look at a playground, a “giant death trap” usually isn’t the first thing you think about. But, playgrounds can pose some serious risks to the health and well-being of children. In fact, hundreds of thousands of children suffer playground-related injuries every year. For associations, it’s not only a matter of keeping kids safe but also keeping the HOA free from potential liability.
Here are the best tips for HOA playground maintenance and safety.
1. Check the Surfacing
Surfacing is integral to the safety of children, but time and use can wear it down. After a long winter, it’s a good idea to check the condition of your playground’s surfacing. Inclement weather can blow the mulch away. If you have rubber tiles or synthetic turf, severe storms can also do a number on them.
See if there’s any damage that needs attention. If it’s in terrible condition, you might need to replace the surfacing entirely. Keep in mind that some states and cities have specific regulations regarding playground surfacing, such as required depths and materials. It might seem tedious, but checking and replacing the surfacing is a key part of keeping an HOA playground safe.
2. Clean and Remove Pests
Playground equipment can get dirty over time, especially after a long period of non-use. To prepare the playground for spring, have a professional clean the equipment. Dirt, dust, and all sorts of debris could have settled on surfaces and in nooks. And for children whose immune systems aren’t as strong, these things can have a detrimental effect on health.
In addition to simple dirt and dust, there may also be pests and other hazards lying around. Insects could’ve settled and nested in the playground area. These can include wasps, bees, and ants. Apart from having a mean bite, these insects may also bring about an allergic reaction in children.
3. Schedule an Inspection
When it comes to homeowners association playground safety, it’s important to schedule an inspection after winter. A professional can come in and check if all the equipment is working fine. There may be exposed or missing parts that could pose a threat to the safety of kids. There may also be tripping hazards that can cause injury not only to children but also to accompanying adults.
It’s a good idea to hire a professional to inspect your playground at least once every year – and the spring season is a good time to do it. Since winter has passed, children are getting ready to spend time outside again. And that means HOAs are preparing to open amenities and common spaces again.
4. Tighten Loose Screws and Nuts
Playground equipment can deteriorate after a while. Because of the weight of kids and the shaky nature of some types of equipment, you can’t always ensure long-term stability without proper maintenance.
Part of the inspection should identify any weak areas and determine the strength of the playground equipment. You might need to tighten some nuts and bolts to keep everything in good shape. If there are signs of rusting or damage, you need to address them immediately. When you properly maintain HOA playground equipment, you not only keep everyone safe but also ensure the longevity of the asset.
5. Update Safety Signs
Every playground should have safety signs posted in the area and immediate surroundings. You should also make sure to post the playground rules in a place that everyone can see easily. Not everyone keeps up with new rules and safety instructions, so having them within people’s eye line helps keep everyone on the same page.
Of course, you can’t just forget about the signs after putting them up. Signs can also experience wear and tear over time. Make it part of your routine to check the safety signs and rules after every winter. See to it that the words haven’t faded and that the integrity of the signs hasn’t been compromised. You may want to update them every now and then, too, to maximize HOA playground safety.
6. Consider Shade
While the whole point of a playground is to get children playing outside, that doesn’t mean you should expose them to the harsh rays of the sun all day long. Getting some sunlight is good, but too much – and at the wrong time – can be bad for the health. If you have playground equipment made of metal, adding shade can also help keep the equipment cool to the touch.
No one wants to play outside in scorching hot temperatures. Adding a shade structure can help keep children cool while still allowing them to enjoy the playground. It also prevents the chances of people suffering from heat stroke.
Shade can also prolong the lifespan of playground equipment. The UV rays of the sun can damage the playground and fade its color over time. Installing a shade structure lets you avoid that, which, in turn, saves you money in premature repairs and replacement.
Beyond that, a shaded playground is just more visually appealing. They come in various designs and can easily elevate the look of any playground area.
7. Remind Residents of the Rules
Finally, make sure to remind residents of the playground’s rules and safety regulations. People can be forgetful, so they might not remember playground rules after a long winter. Before opening the playground to residents, send an email or text blast reminding them of the rules. You might also want to include it in your newsletter or post it on your community website.
Be sure to remind everyone of the opening and closing times of the playground. Doing this will get rid of any potential misunderstandings and disputes. Parents or guardians should accompany their children at all times. Apart from that, there should be no running, pushing, or rough play in the playground area. While playground rules can vary depending on the HOA, these are some of the most common.
The Final Word
Springtime can be very lovely and refreshing, but it also involves a lot of preparation and maintenance for homeowners associations. Protect the children in your community by implementing these HOA playground safety tips.
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