Church Playground Equipment Safety Measures
Adding church playground equipment can be a great way to help your church families get more out of the service. I, Justin, have three kids, and our church has a wonderful playground that our kids can’t wait to run out and use after the service is completed. Their fun outside allows me and my wife to have some moments to interact without worrying about where our kids are and what they are doing!
That being said, there are significant safety steps when planning and installing a playground at your church. Here are a few important features we recommend.
Adult Supervision For Playground Equipment
One of the great things about my church is the emphasis on protecting our children. Every Sunday, church members are assigned the roles of inside and outside monitors. There is always a watchful eye on the play inside and outside, allowing the parents to relax and enjoy mingling with their friends.
This is strongly recommended and quickly set up. Be sure to enforce a background check for any parent in these roles. Stress this role’s importance and ensure replacements are gotten if someone can’t make it.
This is the pillar on which you should build your church playground safety. Nothing protects the children and peace of mind for the parents like trustworthy adults who are assigned and fulfilling the role of playground supervision.
Cars, Kids, and Parking
Vehicles are among the greatest threats to kids in this sort of setting. People are coming and going, cars are picking up passengers, and children are running off pent-up energy. There are several things to do to limit safety risks.
Keep the playground away from the parking lot. It seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes planning committee members either miss it or don’t have kids, so it is not on the top of their brains. Having the playground sitting across the church driveway or drop-off area means the children have to cross the road to get to the playground, and this is not ideal.
Having the playground near the parking lot is also not a good idea. The games children play often spill out over from the playground, and if parked cars are handy, they may integrate them into the game of “tag” or “hide and seek.” The further away the cars are, the less likely this will happen.
If your church’s property is tight and there is no getting around this, installing a fence or barrier between the parking lot and the playground is a great idea. This will help keep the play within the playground.
Granted, vehicles and traffic are not the only factors to consider when placing a playground. Another important factor is lines of sight. Can parents step outside and check on their children with ease, or is the playground placed far away from the parents?
I have been to a few churches where the playgrounds are tucked out of sight and far away, which is great for removing the danger of traffic but has drawbacks. While I am not a fearmonger, it is not wise for children to play without easy adult supervision. If the children are clearly visible from the church, the likelihood of something happening is much lower.
Fencing and Lights
As noted earlier, fencing can help keep children within the playground area, but it is also a barrier to any passing animals or people. A fence is a good idea when you are concerned about the area’s safety in general. However, it should be a fence that you can easily see through so parents and monitors can always have lines of sight on the play.
Lighting is another important component. Having a lot of light keeps the play safe and makes supervision much easier. This is especially important if children spill out around the playground. Any place where vehicles go should be lit up for child safety.
Deal with Problems
If concerns are raised about the safety of the play on the playground, the area around the playground, or the playground itself, deal with the issues wisely and quickly. Don’t let problems linger until something happens.
Have plans in place. If a child gets hurt, what should you do? If a stray dog is running around, what should you do? What should be done if an adult you don’t recognize hanging about the playground? Having a plan helps the monitors know precisely what they should do and prevent minor problems from turning into bigger ones.
While it may feel extreme, having a security system on the playground and clearly marking its existence could greatly fend off problems. This must be a joint decision with all your church members, but it could be significant in preventing serious problems.
If something happens, report it to the proper authorities. Never sweep things under the rug.
Do the children at your church know what is expected of them? Do the teenagers understand the playground is for younger children? Do the parents agree with and understand the rules of the playground?
Things like this seem like give-ins, but clarity helps prevent problems. Teenagers should not be crashing about the playground if it is meant for younger children, but if that expectation or rule is not set beforehand, it can get messy. Plan your rules and expectations before the playground is installed, and discuss them with your members.
Your playground will have a lot of children using it at once, and let’s be honest, children that have possibly been sitting for a while through the service need to release some big-time energy! That means they may be rougher than normal on the playground.
That means you should do inspections regularly and document your inspections. Inspect the hardware, test the slides, and ensure everything is in order.
If you have a mulch bed, ensure someone is assigned to routinely measure and replenish the mulch to ensure proper fall protection. This can easily be monitored by marking the correct height at numerous locations on the border. When the mulch falls below these marks, it is time for more!
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list but a list to get you started. Work with your church members to ensure the playground is safe and secure for your children to play on. If you have any questions, please reach out to our sales team. We can help guide you through the process and create a perfect playground for your children.
A question we often get regarding churches and playgrounds is, “Do I need a commercial-grade playground?”
And to that, we say, “It depends.”
Watching our Commercial VS Residental Playground Video may help sort it out for you!