About the Product
- Implement best practices for supervision, age-appropriate design, fall surfaces, and equipment selection and maintenance to ensure playgrounds comply with risk management plans.
- Use the CD-ROM to train employees and conduct your own playground inspections using six reproducible checklists.
- Learn the why and how of playground safety by covering both research studies and practical applications, including case studies based on real-life incidents.
For children, playgrounds and play areas are a recipe for fun—or perhaps an accident waiting to happen. Playing without fear or tears provides many benefits to a child’s development. Yet every year, hundreds of thousands of children suffer serious playground-related injuries that require emergency medical treatment.
Written by the National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) staff, S.A.F.E. Play Areas: Creation, Maintenance, and Renovation is a resource for facility managers, administrators, and play supervisors in any playground or play area. This all-in-one guide explores the four components of the thoroughly tested, easy-to-implement S.A.F.E. model:
Supervision—adults must be trained in appropriate active supervision tecniques.
Age-appropriate design—children of varying age groups need equipment designed for their specific developmental characteristics.
Fall surfacing—the type and depth of ground materials must be adequate for cushioning falls.
Equipment—plastic, wooden, and metal equipment must be maintained, repaired, and replaced.
For each component, the authors first examine the research to show why it's a critical part of safety. Then they explain how to put that knowledge to practical use. The book also explores the history of playground safety and debunks 10 common myths about what makes a good or safe play area.
The book includes a CD-ROM that offers a presentation package of slides for use as a quick refresher course in supervision, design, surfacing, and equipment maintenance for experienced employees or as foundational training for new employees. The CD-ROM also contains the six reproducible forms from the book in PDF format for easy printing. The forms can be used in assessing the safety of play areas, which is crucial for school, community, and youth administrators responsible for ensuring that play areas comply with their risk management plans. Also included is a student injury report form that school staff can use for documenting playground injuries to students. This form can also be modified for use in child care settings.
This book and CD-ROM package makes it easy to understand and use the S.A.F.E. model, which is based on current research by the National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS). The NPPS works with playground equipment manufacturers and national youth organizations to disseminate current information on selecting and maintaining playground equipment, and they offer best practices in play area supervision. As a leader in promoting play area safety since 1995, the NPPS has trained risk management and play area supervisors in schools, recreation and park departments, youth organizations, and child care center administrators nationwide.
Injuries can be prevented. S.A.F.E. Play Areas: Creation, Maintenance, and Renovation can show you how.
About the Author
Donna Thompson, PhD, is an acknowledged national and international expert in the field of playground development and safety, and she is the executive director of the National Program for Playground Safety. She has more than 30 years of experience in teaching, writing, and researching about playgrounds. She has given numerous presentations on playground development, including television interviews on ABC's “Good Morning America,” CBS’ “Early Edition,” “CNN Headline News,” and NBC's “Today” program. She has served as consultant for numerous groups planning playgrounds and has been called as an expert witness on playground safety. Dr. Thompson is recognized by early childhood educators, physical educators, elementary principals, park and recreation professionals, and parents for her expertise in playground safety.
Susan D. Hudson, PhD, is a nationally acknowledged expert in the area of playground safety and the education director of the National Program for Playground Safety. She has made presentations both nationally and internationally on playground design and safety and is the author or coauthor of more than 175 articles concerning playgrounds. As the education director, she has spearheaded major research projects for NPPS. Dr. Hudson has held numerous leadership and committee assignments in national professional organizations, including the American Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and the National Recreation and Park Association. She holds an endowed professorship at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.
Heather M. Olsen, MA, is the operations director for the National Program for Playground Safety at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. She has been associated with the development of playgrounds and educating the public about maintenance, supervision, and age appropriateness; has given presentations throughout the country about the design of safe playgrounds; and has written many articles on creating playgrounds for children. She is also the major developer of the new online training program for NPPS. Ms Olsen is a NPPS playground safety school instructor and a member of the Iowa Playground Safety Network and the Black Hawk County Safe Kids Coalition.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. The S.A.F.E. Model for Play Areas
How Playground Injuries Occur
Evolution of Playground Safety
Chapter 2. Supervision
What Is Supervision?
Why Does Supervision Matter?
How Does the Supervision Model Encourage Safety?
Why Anticipate Dangers and Problems?
Why Does Behavior Matter?
Why Does Context Matter?
Why Have a Supervision Action Plan?
Chapter 3. A New Way of Looking at Things
Developing a Supervision Action Plan
Chapter 4. Age-Appropriate Design
What Are Children Like?
Children With Special Needs
Matching Developmental Characteristics to Age Categories
Chapter 5. Developmentally Appropriate Play Areas
Ages 6 to 23 Months
Ages 2 to 5 Years
Ages 5 to 12 Years
Park Play Areas
Play Areas for Children of All Abilities
Chapter 6. Fall Surfacing
Height and Playground Equipment
Relationship Between Height and Surfacing
Playground Surfacing Materials
Indoor Surfacing Concerns
Chapter 7. Creating Safe Surfaces
S.A.F.E. Surfacing Decision Model
Chapter 8. Equipment Maintenance
The Importance of Maintenance
Standard of Care
National Report Card on Playground Maintenance
Importance of Maintenance Policy
Evaluation of Maintenance Policy
Chapter 9. The Nuts and Bolts of Maintenance Policies
In the Beginning
Building a Firm Foundation
Keeping a Well-Maintained Playground
Using the S.A.F.E. Model for Maintenance Assessment
Developing a Maintenance Checklist
Chapter 10. Toward a Safer World of Play
Ten Ways to Take Action
Share Your Success Stories
Appendix A: Related Organizations
Appendix B: Student Injury Report
Appendix C: Safety and Maintenance Checklists
Appendix D: The National Program for Playground Safety
About the Authors
Facility managers and administrators for schools, park and recreation departments, child care agencies and youth directors, businesses, and other organizations responsible for maintaining play areas.