TM 5-803-11/AFJMAN 32-10139
CHILD SAFETY REQUIREMENTS FOR OUTDOOR PLAY AREAS
metal materials, such as stainless steel and alumi-
num, should be selected. Metals subject to rust or
The designer should be thoroughly familiar with
corrosion should be painted, galvanized, or other-
safety requirements for children's outdoor play ar-
wise treated. All metal edges should be rolled or
eas. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commis-
have rounded capping. Hollow metal tubes should
sion (CPSC) estimates that each year in the U.S.
be capped to eliminate standing water and sharp
approximately 170,000 children are treated in hos-
edges. To avoid the risk of contact burn injury, bare
pital emergency rooms and 17 deaths occur from
or painted metal surfaces will be avoided in regions
injuries sustained on public play areas. In addition
where intense sunlight and heat can be expected,
to child safety, potential liability, sustained morale,
and public relations are further reasons why mili-
unless the surfaces are located out of direct sun-
tary installations should provide safe play areas.
This chapter describes general safety guidelines
c. Wood. Wood materials require regular mainte-
that will help prevent serious injuries.
nance to control splintering, weathering, and dete-
rioration. Wood that is naturally rot- and insect-
7-2. Guidelines for Child Safety.
Children's outdoor play areas will meet the re-
should be selected. Cedar, cypress, and redwood are
naturally resistant to decay, checking, and cupping.
quirements of the CPSC Handbook for Public Play-
ground Safety and the American Society for Testing
Regional species should be selected to reduce costs
and Materials (ASTM) Standard Consumer Safety
of site-built elements, such as benches and planters.
Wood should be premium grade and free of sap
Performance Specification for Playground Equip-
wood and loose knots.
ment for Public Use (ASTM F 1487). This chapter
defines safety terms and provides additional guid-
ance for instances where no guideline has been pro-
vatives and paints used in children's outdoor play
vided or new research has become available. For a
areas will meet ASTM F 1487 standards. Play area
complete review of safety requirements, CPSC and
users should not be able to ingest, inhale, or absorb
ASTM F 1487 should be consulted along with this
hazardous amounts of substances as a result of con-
manual. If a conflict exists between this manual,
tact with preservatives and paints. Wood that is not
CPSC, or ASTM F 1487, the more stringent require-
naturally rot- and insect-resistant will be treated
ment will be applied.
below the level of the play area surface and up to
150 mm (6 inches) above the play area surface.
7-3. Material Selection.
(1) Inorganic Arsenical. The most common
Building materials will be selected that have
wood treatment used in play areas are the inorganic
demonstrated durability in play areas or outdoor
arsenical. These will be applied by the manufact-
settings. For purchased items, holes in materials
urer or wood preserver according to the specifica-
should be factory-drilled. Extra holes that will not
tions of the American Wood Preservers Association
be filled in by hardware and could harbor insects
C 17 standard. This standard states that treated
should not be present.
wood will be visibly free of residues that may con-
tain high levels of arsenic. Chromated copper arsen-
a. Plastic. High density polyethylene is a mate-
ate, which causes a greenish coloration, is accept-
rial commonly used for manufactured play equip-
able if the amount of arsenic on the surface of the
ment. It is especially appropriate for slides, because
wood that can be dislodged is minimized. Treated
plastic surfaces are less likely than metal to cause
wood that complies with these standards may be
burns in hot climates. Plastic coatings, such as poly-
suitable for use in children's play areas. However,
vinyl chloride (PVC), may also be used on metals
arsenical-treated wood will not be used in the con-
that would otherwise become too hot in direct sun-
struction of drinking fountains or other locations
light. Plastic materials should be ultraviolet (UV)
where it would contact public drinking water di-
stabilized to minimize fading, resistant to cracking,
rectly or indirectly.
and shatterproof. Fiberglass should be avoided be-
cause it has low impact tolerance.
cording to CPSC, wood treated with other preserva-
b. Metal. Metal requires less maintenance than
tives that have low toxicity may be suitable for use
wood materials and is more durable. Rust-free