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Playing It Safe
PIRG: Playing It Safe Survey Results: VA
Summary for VIRGINIA
Local Survey Conducted By:
VIRGINIA CITIZENS CONSUMER COUNCIL & USPIRG
For playground by playground data, contact: U.S. PIRG
Total Playgrounds in VA = 54. Surveyed nationally: 760.
1. PROTECTIVE SURFACING
A total of 47 (87%) of the 54 playgrounds in VA 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 26 (48%) of the 54 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 15 (36%) of the 42 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 18 (34%) of 53 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, 33 (63%) of 52 playgrounds had climbers greater than 6 feet high. 14 (29%) of 49 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 4 (10%) 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 12 (29%) 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 10 (25%) 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 13 (33%) 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 10 (25%) 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 23 (43%) 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 29 (54%) 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 31 (57%) 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.