Advice given to parents as playgrounds open their gates to children

Advice given to parents as playgrounds open their gates to children

Published by Maria Greenwood at 9:09am 7th July 2020.

The Register of Play Inspectors International (RPII) have issued important advice to Dorset parents and carers, thinking of taking their children to local playgrounds. 

It's after the government announced that playgrounds and outdoors gyms could reopen on Saturday 4th July. 

Keith Dalton is the Managing Director of The Play Inspection Company in Dorset and the Chairman and technical director for outdoor play at RPII, he said:

"What playground owners must do is get a COVID-19 risk assessment for each and every playground that they are responsible for, because every play ground is different to the next one, so they must get a risk assessment for everyone that they own.

"We may have playgrounds that are out in small villages that get used by very few people or ones that are used by 500 people or even a thousand people a day passing through."

playground rope

The risk assessment involves:

  • Identifying the maximum number of users per playground.
  • Setting a time limit for users.
  • Limiting the number of users for a piece of playground equipment.
  • Requesting only one adult per child.

Keith continued:

"The same risks we see in government campaigns are present in a playground, the COVID-19 virus can survive on hard services for several days and we are led to believe that it is less when it is exposed to rain or UV light etc.

"Each playground is different, in terms of being cleaned, it's not practical for public playgrounds, because we could clean it now and then five minutes later somebody enters the playground and leaves traces of virus on the equipment, so wiping it down after every use it not a practical solution. 

"The government also talk about monitoring the number of people that are in the playground, but it's near impossible because we can't have people on duty in each playground 24 hours a day seven days a week counting how many people there are in the playground."

playground little boy

The RPII has issued the following advice to families planning to visit a playground this summer:

  1. If the playground facility you visit has not yet officially been opened, please do not attempt to use, or access the equipment or area. Talk to your children about the possibility that it may not be open before you visit.
  2. Do not remove any temporary barriers to the playground or plastic fencing or unravel any swing seats or cables that may have been secured to put them out of use - this must be done safely by the owner or operator of the facility.
  3. Follow the current social distance guidelines when visiting and encourage your children to do the same.
  4. If the playground is busy, consider coming back at a later time. Talk to your children about this possibility before visiting.
  5. Wash your hands and your children's hands before and after visiting. Take hand sanitiser with you and consider taking a bottle of water for if your children's hands get covered in mud. Ensure your children are using hand sanitiser frequently.
  6. Look out for and pay attention to signage / instructions provided from the playground owner/operator.
  7. Follow and adhere to all current government advice in addition to the above guidance.

Keith warns that parents and carers must follow social distancing guidelines:

"If you are going with your children, then warn them that you may have to come back or go another day if it's too busy, make sure you carry hand sanitiser and wipe the equipment down yourself."