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Playing It Safe

PIRG:  Playing It Safe Survey Results: NC

Summary for NORTH CAROLINA 

Local Survey Conducted By:

NC CONSUMERS COUNCIL AND USPIRG

For playground by playground data, contact: U.S. PIRG

Total Playgrounds in NC = 27. Surveyed nationally: 760.

1. PROTECTIVE SURFACING 

A total of 27 (100%) of the 27 playgrounds in NC lacked adequate surfacing. Nationally, 87% of playgrounds lacked adequate protective surfacing. A playground must have a minimum of 9" of loose fill or a synthetic surface to have adequate protective surfacing.

2a. FALL ZONES: CLIMBERS AND SLIDES 

In 14 (52%) of the 27 playgrounds with climbers and slides, the fall zone around the equipment is inadequate. In the others, the fall zone is adequate. Nationally, 40% of 745 playgrounds with climbers and slides had inadequate fall zones.

2b. FALL ZONES: SWINGS 

In 13 (57%) of the 23 playgrounds with swings, the fall zone was inadequate. Nationally, 41% of the 592 playgrounds with swings had inadequate fall zones.

3. PAINT CHIPPING OR PEELING

Surveyors noted that 9 (36%) of 25 playgrounds had chipping or peeling paint.

4. HEIGHT OF CLIMBERS AND SLIDES 

Climbers and slides should be no higher than 6 feet to prevent injury. Yet, 13 (50%) of 26 playgrounds had climbers greater than 6 feet high. 8 (31%) of 26 playgrounds had slides greater than 6 feet high. Nationally, 62% of 456 climbers and 37% of 704 slides were higher than 6 feet.

5. IMPACT WITH MOVING SWINGS 

÷METAL/HARD SWINGS: In 0 (0%) of playgrounds with swings, some swings seats were made of hard, rigid material that could cause injury. Nationally, 12% of playgrounds contained hard swing seats.

÷MORE THAN TWO SWINGS/BAY: In 4 (17%) of playgrounds with swings, some swings have more than 2/swings per bay, which could cause injury. Nationally, 31% of playgrounds had more than two swings per bay.

÷TOT SWINGS WITH REGULAR SWINGS: In 4 (18%) of playgrounds with swings, tot swings were found in the same bay as regular swings, posing a hazard to younger children. Nationally, 15% of playgrounds had some tot swings mixed in with regular swings.

÷SWINGS NOT AT LEAST 24 INCHES APART: In 7 (30%) of the playgrounds with swings, some swings were NOT at least 24 inches apart, increasing the risk of injury. Nationally, 23% of playgrounds had some swings less than 24 inches apart.

÷SWINGS NOT AT LEAST 30 INCHES FROM SUPPORTS: In 8 (33%) of the playgrounds with swings, some swings were NOT at least 30 inches from support structures, increasing the risk of injury. Nationally, 26% of playgrounds had some swings less than 30 inches from support structures.

6. HEAD ENTRAPMENT HAZARDS 

In 17 (63%) of playgrounds, some spaces between ladder rungs or supports or other parts of the playground were between 3.5" and 9", increasing the risk of head entrapment. Nationally, 42% of playgrounds had head entrapment hazards.

7. CLOTHING ENTANGLEMENT HAZARDS 

In 8 (30%) of playgrounds, small gaps (particularly at the tops of the slides or platforms), open S-hooks, or similar catchpoints existed, posing potential injury or death by strangulation if clothing entanglement (such as hood drawstrings) should occur. Nationally, 40% of playgrounds had clothing entanglement hazards.

7. HAZARDOUS EQUIPMENT 

A total of 12 (44%) playgrounds had hazardous equipment, such as climbing rings, individual climbing ropes, animal swings, or track rides or moving/sliding gates. Such equipment is unacceptable. Nationally 43% of playgrounds had at least one piece of hazardous equipment.

NOTE: Some totals do not equal total number of playgrounds. Not all playgrounds have swings, for example, and some surveys may not include a result in every box. For more information call CFA (202) 387-6121 or U.S. PIRG (202) 546-9707.

 

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