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At Your Fingertips

Mon, 07/01/2002 - 2:00am
Last updated
7 months ago
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Photo courtesy of IPEMA

Associations and Others Make Information Gathering Easier

Until recently, playground information has been tough to get a hold of.

Information before 1970 is vintage and obsolete. Today we find playground information more accessible. Part of this is due to the Internet. But even more important, more research is being done and more avenues are being provided for that research to be distributed. An example of one of these avenues is Today's Playground magazine, which was developed and created for people who wished for more accessibility to playground news and data. There are also several other periodicals that provide well-written, timely playground articles.

Today, one of the best ways to obtain playground information is from playground associations. There are three major playground associations that provide and distribute playground propaganda.

The National Playground Safety Institute (NPSI) is sponsored by the National Recreation and Park Association. NPSI is the organization that operates the Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) program. CPSI is now considered a minimum requirement in providing proof of playground knowledge. To become a CPSI one must take and pass the CPSI test. NPSI has the most complete package of playground information, including a number of very informative and updated books.

Some of these books and resources include: Playground Safety is No Accident, Play It Safe: An Anthology of Playground Safety, and Points about Playgrounds: A Compilation of Significant Information. NPSI can be contacted at 703-858-0784 or you may visit their website at www.nrpa.org.

Another association that can provide ample play equipment information is the International Playground Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA). IPEMA has over 50 play equipment or playground product manufacturers as members. Most of these companies have their own catalogs and safety information that they will send you or have a sales representative that can help you find playground facts and data. You can find IPEMA at www.ipema.org or call them at 800- 395-5550.

The third association that may be able to provide information relating to playgrounds and their construction is the National Playground Contractors Association (NPCA). The NPCA provides its members with The PlayBook which is a play equipment construction magazine. They also have information that may help you find a playground contractor that could supply you with playground construction information.

These associations work hard to promote playground safety and circulate a lot of great playground documents.

Besides the three main industry associations, information is available from a number of other areas. One organization that provides playground information is the National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS). The NPPS has a lot of information available and is a particularly good resource with regards to playground supervision. For information on or from the NPPS, call 800-554-PLAY or visit www.uni.edu/playground.

If you are looking for government information you should get a copy of the Consumer Product Safety Commission booklet, "Handbook for Public Playground Safety." This document has been the foundation of research and development by almost all playground entities. It is written in an easy to understand format and costs nothing. You may receive your copy by calling 1-800- 638-2772.

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has developed a number of standards relating to playgrounds. The society also has booklets available outlining some of these. The ASTM booklets are technical in form and must be purchased from ASTM.

Some of the ASTM booklets available include: Fl 487-01-Consumer Safety Performance Specifications for Playground Equipment for Public Use; Fl 292-99-Specifications for Impact Attenuation of Surface Systems Under and Around Playground Equipment; Fl 918-98- Specifications for Soft Contained Play Equipment; Fl 951- Specifications for Accessibility of Surface Systems; Fl 148-98-Safety Specifications for Home Playground Equipment; F2049-00-Guide for Fences/Barriers for Outdoor Play Areas.

The ASTM can be contacted at 610-832-9500 or online at www.astm.org.

Of course, there are many other places to gather information relating to playgrounds. Most states have daycare or school regulations relating to playground safety and conformance to state requirements. There are also many private organizations that cater to promoting playground safety. Included in the list of some of these organizations are the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Wisconsin, Children's Safety Network, and the Consumer Federation of America. The list is rapidly growing.

Playground information has even been developed on a level that children can understand. Recently, we have seen programs aimed at teaching children about playgrounds and playground safety, such as the "Kid Checker" and "Pazi the Parrot" programs. There is even a national playground safety awareness icon, "Slyde the Playground Hound."

Playground Hound, LLC, has formatted its information to appeal directly to children and support a learning and awareness program that entices children to play responsibly on today's play equipment.

Be sure to use the resources at your disposal to provide the best playground environment.


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