Staying Safe While Having Fun
Working with young people, especially young children, can be a fun and rewarding experience for all involved. Here at Educational Play we love seeing the children enjoy something that we’ve built; knowing that what we’ve provided is fun, sturdy and above all, safe.
First and foremost, anyone working with children needs to know that their wards are going to be protected while going about their daily learning and free-play. There are several regulations that all play-equipment must adhere to before it can go anywhere near a playground.
EN1176 specifies thorough safety requirements for public playground equipment. EN1176-1 includes guidance on everything from the materials to be used, to the height of platform and spaces between the play elements. It gives extensive minimum requirements for the use of ladders, handrails, slides, swings and ropes in play equipment to keep little fingers, toes and heads safe while allowing children to grow and learn in as free an environment as possible.
The rules are very different for domestic (at home) play structures and public (at school) structures, so an activity platform purchased from a domestic provider, overseas source or second-hand may not meet these minimum requirements for a school or nursery. It’s always worth checking that your equipment meets EN1176-1 before purchasing it, this will keep children safe and prevent any future legal issues.
Structures under 1000mm can have grass underneath rather than specialist surfaces; if there are no stones under the surface, high traffic areas are reinforced, and the grass is well maintained.
EN71-1 ensures that any toys intended for use by children, whilst being used in the way they were designed to be, remain safe for use. EN71-1 regulates the mechanical and physical properties of toys and contains over 30 important tests, including ensuring that small parts are of a minimum size to prevent choking, and that the risks of using the toys are clearly marked and easy to understand. Large play equipment for use in public spaces is not covered by this regulation unless it contains small, movable parts, but all small pieces of play equipment should conform and carry a CE sticker.
So, your structure is safe and conforms to all the relevant European regulations, you’ve purchased it and now you and the children are eagerly anticipating its arrival at your school or nursery. Do you know who is installing it? Are they qualified and experienced enough to do so?
Installers should carry is an ID badge for the company they are working for, or some form of photographic ID and an identifiable uniform to show that they are who they say they are. A reputable company will ensure that all installers are trained in installing the play equipment, so they can answer any questions you may have at the point of installation. Ideally the installer will be ROSPA qualified, but this is not a legal requirement.
Educational Play has been designing and installing children’s play equipment for over twenty years. All our products meet EN1176-1 and EN71-1. You can read more about how we ensure that all of our products meet European guidelines here, and how we keep your children safe while we install here.