Summer Maintenance Tips for School Playgrounds
With summer upon us, students across the country are enjoying their break from schoolwork. Now that the halls are empty, it’s time to consider your playground’s upkeep. Summer is the perfect time for playground maintenance and repairs.
It’s critical to ensure your playground is a safe environment for your students to play in. By focusing on playground equipment maintenance during the slow summer months, you can minimize the risk of preventable injuries to the children in your care.
Start by developing a customized playground equipment maintenance checklist to ensure your playground provides the best possible play experience. Here are a few items you should include as you prep your playground for the upcoming school year.
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- Complete Your Playground’s Regular Inspection
- Complete Playground Repairs As Soon As Possible
- Address Storm Damage and Other Natural Hazards
- Ensure Proper Drainage
- Repair Fences and Benches
- Check All Surfacing
- Eliminate Troublesome Pests
- Check Playground Equipment Maintenance Off Your School’s To-Do List
Complete Your Playground’s Regular Inspection
While all grounds and play equipment should be inspected daily for health and safety hazards, you can also conduct a thorough annual inspection each summer. Whether someone on staff examines your playground or you hire an outside professional inspector, regular inspections of the equipment and surrounding area are essential to your students’ safety.
Some safety concerns to look out for include:
- Broken equipment, including loose or worn parts
- Litter and debris within the play yard, such as trash, broken glass, and other hazardous items
- Vandalism and other signs of inappropriate use of the playground area
- Hidden dangers in the sandbox or loose surfacing
Once the inspection is complete, take note of all repairs that are needed so that these can be taken care of before the school year starts.
Complete Playground Equipment Repairs as Soon as Possible
If you find potential issues early on in the summer, try to have your repairs completed as soon as possible. Even minor problems with your playground equipment can lead to major danger for your students as they play. So, don’t delay and ensure all playground equipment repairs are complete before the school reopens.
Address Storm Damage and Other Natural Hazards
From furious thunderstorms to hurricane season, severe storms often roll through during the summer months. This type of weather may leave behind debris which could be hazardous, including large branches and fallen playground equipment.
Even when there’s not a storm, new natural hazards can appear overnight which could cause harm to children. This includes:
- Low-hanging or sharp branches
- Loose rocks
- Exposed tree roots
Ensure Proper Drainage
Standing water and improperly drained playground surfaces can lead to illness or injury among your students. Ensure your playground is safe and clean by allowing proper drainage.
Repair Fences and Benches
The playground’s equipment is an obvious source of concern. However, some schools forget to include fences and benches in their playground maintenance plans, so be sure to regularly check their condition. Fences can have holes or bent portions which need fixing, while benches or other types of seating can develop splinters. These should either be repaired or replaced as needed.
Check All Surfacing
As you inspect your playground’s surroundings, don’t forget to check that the surfacing material is in good condition with soft landing areas and no tripping hazards.
Whether your school uses wood fiber, rubber mulch, or artificial turf, the material needs to be in good condition to minimize the risk of injuries like broken bones or head trauma. Worn or uneven surfacing material needs to be repaired, raked, or replaced. Some loose fill surfaces can become compressed or scattered over time, so you may need to top them off with additional material.
Eliminate Troublesome Pests
Playground equipment can play host to a number of uninvited pests during the summer months. Bees, wasps, ants, and more might try to move in, creating a real danger when students return. Have any nests removed by pest control professionals to ensure it’s done safely. However, if you find honeybees, you may want to contact a beekeeper to preserve your local bee population.
Check Playground Equipment Maintenance Off Your School’s To-Do List
By taking the time to complete your school’s playground maintenance and repairs during the summer months, you’ll be ready for playful students by the time the new school year starts.
Some older playground equipment may need to be replaced. We invite you to contact us at Little Tikes Commercial to request a quote for new equipment that will meet all your school’s safety requirements while engaging your students with its fun and innovative design.