The regulations of playgrounds, key to ensuring the safety and accessibility of children

Children's play and recreation spaces must comply with a series of obligations, installation and maintenance, so that the little ones can enjoy, relate and develop safely.

To what regulations are the construction and maintenance of playgrounds subject?? What measures do you envisage to ensure the safety and accessibility of children?? Who is ultimately responsible for complying with these rules to avoid accidents??

Maybe, on more than one occasion, you have asked yourself these questions while enjoying the afternoon with your children, grandchildren or nephews in a playground. The reality is that there is a regulation in Europe, the UNE-EN series 1176, that regulates about the equipment of the play areas and surfaces.

This regulation, which covers different aspects related to the installation, inspection, maintenance and use of playgrounds, is intended for use by operators of the gaming areas as a support and guidance document. Based on this roadmap in terms of security and the experience and good work of the companies that make up Afamour, each and every one of them facilitates that children can enjoy an accessible space on a daily basis and also minimize the risk of accidents in children's play spaces.

What aspects does the UNE-EN regulation include? 1176?

The UNE-EN regulation 1176 on the equipment of play areas and surfaces covers in six parts the general safety requirements and test methods, as well as other additional requirements associated with:

  • Swings
  • Slides
  • Zip lines
  • Carousels
  • Rocker
  • Three-dimensional networks

In addition, incorporates a part seven that serves as a guide for the installation, inspection, maintenance and use of play areas.

In this last section, important aspects are regulated so that playgrounds are safe places. In this way, includes four essential actions for the implementation and operation of these children's spaces:

  • Installation
  • Inspection
  • Maintenance
  • Utilization

Also, the regulation includes in each of these areas of action a series of specific recommendations linked, among others, to the evaluation of the security measures or personnel in charge of each task.

How is compliance certified??

To demonstrate that the playground complies with the dictates of the UNE-EN-1176 regulation, it is necessary to have the certificate or report of independent and competent favorable inspection of the executed area. The inspection must be carried out in the same playground and the report issued before opening to the public, in the case of new area and, with minimum annual periodicity in the case of areas that have been installed for some time.

In this inspection, essential aspects for the safety of the children's play area shall be taken into account:

  • Adequacy of the impact buffer surface within each drop space
  • Adequate signage that, at least, prohibit access to pets, Bicycles…
  • The auxiliary elements of the area, like fencing, the bins, street lamps, sources and banks, must be free of dangerous protrusions or gaps that could generate entrapments
  • The elements must have the appropriate foundations to guarantee their stability and that they are not dangerous as such.
  • The game elements must be perfectly identified with their corresponding references and traceable with the product certificates issued by accredited Product Certification Body.
  • The elements must be correctly installed and assembled taking into account the instructions of each of the manufacturers of the same.

In addition, it is mandatory to have adequate signage of the playground with clear and understandable information, possible also with pictograms, and that it is located in the place of greatest visibility. The poster must include, at least, the following elements:

  • Recommended age group (It can be indicated in each element)
  • Phone number for possible conservation incidents
  • Emergency phone number for communication of possible accidents
  • Prohibition of entry of pets
  • Reference that the correct use of equipment is under the responsibility of adult parents and companions
  • Express indication of the need for surveillance for children in 0 to 3 years, in those areas where there are equipment for this age group
  • Name or identification and address of the area Name or identification and address of the playground or GPS coordinates

Also, there is specific legislation of City Councils and Autonomous Communities with complementary requirements for the areas and their signage.

How is accessibility ensured in playgrounds?

The above regulations do not include specific requirements regarding children's accessibility to children's play areas.. That's why, there is legislation that establishes basic non-discrimination conditions for access to and use of urbanized public spaces.

In Order TMA/851/2021, of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, the following conditions are established in the gaming sectors:

  • At least one in five elements in each children's play sector will have universal accessibility criteria and will be dynamic in nature
  • If there is more than one element that has universal accessibility criteria, must be of different category
  • Access to each element must be guaranteed with universal accessibility criteria from a pedestrian itinerary

This Order also focuses on street furniture, banks, railings in case of unevenness or drinking water sources, whose tap must be located less than 70 centimeters high and free of obstacles and that it is necessary to be able to reach the area by accessible pedestrian itineraries that meet the rest of the requirements of Order TMA/851/2021. Specified, In addition, that in the case of computerized communication elements with a screen, visibility must be ensured for people seated at a height between 0,8 and 1,2 meters, lower than previously established.

AFAMOUR, guarantee of safety in playgrounds

The work of the 27 partner companies that make up Afamour is a guarantee of security, accessibility and inclusion, because they promote more than 1.000 inclusive play areas every year. In addition, facilitate games and physical activities to more than 5 millions of children.

In terms of security certifications of the installed areas, AFAMOUR companies add the 80% of the certifications issued in accordance with the UNE-EN-1176 regulation in public gambling areas of the country.

Also, and as a specific guarantee of safety and compliance with regulations in playgrounds, AFAMOUR associates install a total of 100.000 square meters of cushioning rubber floors.

“In AFAMOUR we are leaders in the manufacture of playgrounds. We know the regulations and guarantee the safety and accessibility of children”.