IPEMA’s Recommendations on Making Playgrounds Safer

The Voice of Play, an organization connected to the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) outlined five things to consider about playground safety

Their first consideration, is the playground age appropriate, focuses on the size of the equipment matching the age group it is designed for. “The intended age group should be somewhat obvious from the design and scale of the equipment, but signs posted in the area – or on the equipment – should also give you some guidance as to their age appropriateness.”

IPEMA’s recommendations for the surfacing are to use what they consider to be the best and most accessible surfaces which are poured in place (PIP), rubber mulch, and artificial turf. Additionally, they suggest that proper surface fill must be eight to twelve inches deep especially under swings and slides.


The safety of the equipment is centered around the height, speed, space, guardrails, tripping hazards, and entrapment and strangulations risks.  “See if there is enough room underneath, around and between playground equipment, no protruding objects, moving parts or slippery surfaces, and that higher sections have guardrails.”

The surrounding environment is the fourth safety consideration. IPEMA points to fencing around playgrounds that may not have particularly safe surroundings.  Visibility for parents is another major focus and be aware of blind spots where visibility of smaller children may be limited or blocked out.

The last consideration is playground upkeeping.   Try to notice the last time the equipment was painted or stained, any missing or broken parts fixed, any loose fill spread or replaced, as well as trash cans placed and regularly emptied. Be on the lookout for missing guardrails or steps, protruding nuts or bolts, as well as rusty metal, cracked plastic or splintered wood on the equipment.

© Scrap Tire News, April 2022