In Canada, the number of children hospitalized due to playground injuries grew 8% between 2007 and 2012. Some of those injuries may be due to the state of playground equipment and poorly maintained safety surfacing.
According to a CBC story on the topic, “In all jurisdictions in Canada, play structures only need to adhere to the Canadian Standards Association standards in the year they were built, and no upgrades are mandatory.”
Most playground injuries are as a result of falls onto inadequate safety surfacing. Keith Thomas, risk management expert for the Manitoba School Board Association, has tested many playgrounds and found their safety surfacing lacking.
“What happens in many cases is people only have the bare necessity when it comes to sand or pea gravel,” Thomas said. “We’re trying to educate them to have 10 inches — frequently there is less than 10 inches.”
Because proper maintenance is the key to ensuring playground surfaces have enough impact attenuating material (such as mulch or pea gravel), Thomas has recently invested in CityReporter as his playground inspection tool of choice. He uses it to document the condition of school playgrounds across Manitoba.