One of the best, and most important, parts of childhood is the learning that’s done out in the playground. Children not only have fun and get valuable exercise, but they also develop critical skills in terms of physical development, and yes, leaving their comfort zone and taking some risk.
But not ALL risks.
True, the educational value of the playground shouldn’t be underestimated; on the other hand, that doesn’t absolve the schools – at least in New York – from taking the responsibility for making sure that the playgrounds – both their equipment and their grounds – are safe for use by our children. Otherwise, the value of the learning on the playground may be vastly outweighed by the danger presented by these playgrounds.
Fortunately, in response to a rash of incidents involving playground injuries, the Consumer Products Safety Commission recognized some of the dangers inherent in playgrounds, and took steps to establish some basic guidelines that should be followed in terms of playground safety. New York’s legislature adopted many of these recommendations, and they are now the law in New York.
Some of the most important features of these rules pertain to the safety surfacing that is required on playgrounds. It is these laws and guidelines that are reason behind the wood chips or rubber matting that you will often see on playground surfaces. But, you should be aware, the schools are still required to maintain these surfaces in proper condition.
A WORD OF CAUTION:
Since the requirements of these laws can be somewhat hyper-technical, if you have a question as to whether your child's playground incident was due to a school's negligence or violation of the law, you should probably contact an attorney who has specialized knowledge about this area of the law.