Play in inclusive playgrounds, A universal right of children

14 Nov 2022 present, Afamour

UNICEF's Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child uphold that children should fully enjoy games and recreations

Exists, In addition, Regulations that guarantee safety and accessibility in playgrounds, such as Order TMA/851 of the Ministry of Urban Agenda and UNE-EN standards 1176 and UNE 170001

The installation of playgrounds in urban environments Complies with children's right to play, claimed by Afamour and contemplated in different international standards. The different activities that take place in these recreational spaces, that must be accessible and inclusive to the public, They favor cognitive learning and the development of psychomotor skills at an early age, regardless of the ability of each of the people.

The Children's right to play It is present in standards such as UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), The articles of which state that “All children with mental or physical disabilities have the right to enjoy a full life”, and the Declaration of the Rights of the Child promoted by the UN (1959). In the latter, It is included that “The child should fully enjoy games and recreations, which must be oriented towards the ends pursued by education”. Also, The principle continues 7 of this statement, “Public administrations shall endeavour to promote the enjoyment of this right”.

With this international regulatory framework and the subsequent approval of the Sustainable Development Goals -Exist five SDGs linked to the benefits of inclusive playgrounds (3, 4, 5, 10 and 11)-, Administrations are increasingly aware of the need to bet on play spaces for children that guarantee accessibility and inclusion, and end the barriers and segregation that could occur with some of the recreational elements installed in these public play areas. In Afamour they have known for a long time about these demands and have been pioneers in the projection of playgrounds with useful areas for all.



What rules specifically regulate accessibility in playgrounds?

Today, Administrations and manufacturers of playgrounds must comply A multitude of Legislation regarding technical regulations and legal regulations About the installation and maintenance of these play spaces. One of the laws of national application is the Order TMA/851, of 23 July 2021, by which the Ministry of Urban Agenda develops the technical document of basic conditions of accessibility and non-discrimination for access and use of urbanized public spaces.

This ministerial order regulates in its article 8 a series of Aspects to ensure accessibility in children's play sectors:

  • One in five elements will have universal accessibility criteria, must be in children's games of dynamic type or that generates movement when introduced inside.
  • The Access to children's play areas, as well as each element with universal accessibility criteria, and exercises from an accessible pedestrian route.
  • They will be introduced Chromatic and texture contrasts between game and exercise elements […] to promote the orientation and perception of users.
  • Along with the game elements that must have universal accessibility criteria, will be foreseen obstacle-free spaces where a circle of 1,50 meters in diameter at least.

Coexists with this order the UNE-EN standard 1176 What Regulates the safety of playgrounds and enter the Concept of 'easily accessible'’ with the following definition: “What Does not require a special skill to access the equipment and that users can move freely and quickly around the computer, No other consideration for the use of hands and feet”.

The standard should also be taken into account UNE 170001 of universal accessibility, with a first part that collects the DALCO criteria for facilitate accessibility to the environment:

  • Ambulation o Move from one site to another To access places and objects following circulation zones, Approximation spaces, Rest areas, Changes of plane and pavements with non-slip characteristics.
  • Apprehension o action of grasping, trap, turn, Manipulate or tap items thanks to Elements for the Location correctly signposted, design suitable for use by any user or Auxiliary staff when required.
  • Localization of places and objects through Elements for signalling, lighting, Pavement and auxiliary services.
  • Communication by means of Non-interactive media (Signs in paper form, audiovisual media, Illuminated signs, acoustic and tactile) and interactive (computer, optical reader or personnel competent in sign language).

This normative exhibition around playgrounds shows that Protections and recreational value are conditioned by safety standards. As an example, where a child goes up from 10 years in a wheelchair A one-year-old child must also walk up.

Precisely on this development of legislation, the president of Afamour, Look at Jimenez, details that “More and more local administrations are valuing children's areas as spaces that provide an important service to citizens and that they must be valid for everyone”, A fact that “is encouraging work on new regulations”. “This is the way forward”, Adds, “and each time accessibility will become more essential".

"If we can't put an end to our differences, Let's help make the world a good place for them."

John F. Kennedy

Inclusive playgrounds, A play area for everyone

Afamour defends a design of these spaces with a global vision that guarantees accessibility to children with diverse physical and intellectual abilities

Inclusion, Accessibility, Learning and fun. These four values are essential when projecting, Develop and open to citizens a playground, as they defend from Afamour. The Spanish Association of Manufacturers of Urban Furniture and Playgrounds considers that These spaces must respond to the recreational needs of the youngest while allowing them to put their physical and intellectual skills into practice, regardless of the degree of capacity of each of them. Proof of this is the Recent campaign that they have promoted and that bears the title 'We all like to play'.

The commitment to accessibility, as explained by the president of Afamour, Look at Jimenez, must be done from “A global view”. In this sense, Jimenez argues that “No accessible item exists, but children's spaces must present different types of accessibility, each adapted to the different children and their needs”, so as not to segregate individuals. Applying this consideration in the design of an accessible playground, The space will count from a playful point of view with elements arranged for the interaction of a heterogeneous set.

In this sense, Inclusive play spaces go beyond accessibility needs and universal design solutions. In addition, aim to facilitate a variety of play experiences and challenges for all people to participate socially and fully in all activities. offered, your way, with a sense of being part of something. It's about encouraging An environment where coexistence and diversity are respected and valued.

This is reflected in the Guide '12 good practices. Recommendations for success in the creation of a children's play area', prepared by Afamour in collaboration with the Spanish Association of Public Parks and Gardens (Aepjp). A document that underlines that inclusion in these spaces will allow Users can enjoy the game and the area in the company of other children and families, without segregating anyone according to their abilities.


Criteria to ensure accessibility and universal design in playgrounds

Have A reference document around playgrounds allows urban furniture manufacturers and local administrations to ensure universal accessibility and design. In this sense, Afamour's guide of good practices establishes a series of recommendations to ensure game elements for everyone:

  • Offer multiple recreational activities at ground level and include some with dynamic movement. They have to allow the experimentation of sensations and constitute challenges that encourage them to develop their skills and excel.
  • Ensure that the main element of the leisure area have at least A way to access and enjoy together so that no child feels left out.
  • Choose elements that favor that children can play accompanied, safely and participating in the Excitement of enjoying together.
  • Include game elements designed so that develop physical skills, Social, Cognitive, emotional and creative.

To these recommendations of Afamour, A series of Principles for designing accessible play spaces:

  • Equitable use, where people with diverse abilities can participate without feeling segregated.
  • Flexibility of use to ensure that all children, depending on your capabilities and preferences, have the opportunity to experience different levels of difficulty.
  • Simple and intuitive to use, easy to understand, regardless of user experience, Language ability, and the level of knowledge and concentration at the time of the game.
  • Perceptible information that allows users to explore, interact and participate as effectively and independently as possible.
  • Fault tolerance, guaranteed by having the elements to minimize dangers and errors contemplated in the UNE-EN technical standard 1176.
  • Low physical exertion that allows its use efficiently, with elements that make it easier for users to participate minimizing unnecessary effort and fatigue.
  • Size and space for access and use in conditions of comfort, Security, equality and autonomy for all people, even those with motor skills, sensory or cognitive different.

Also, Different studies carried out in collaboration with entities of people with disabilities respond to what an inclusive playground should ensure:

  • The Accessibility outside and inside of the park.
  • Resources and Alternatives for access and use of existing elements so that everyone can participate and play according to their abilities.
  • Variety of sensory and playful experiences with physical benefits, Cognitive, emotional and social.

With the application of these principles and the professional experience of its associates, Afamour ensures accessibility of playgrounds, as well as the interrelation between children and their families in these spaces. A reality confirmed by the 'Analysis of user profile of playgrounds in Spain', carried out by the Technological Institute of children's products and leisure, and what shows that the 81% of parents with children of 0 to 3 years play with them in the park. The percentage is 66% for parents with children of 4 to 7 years, and the 44% for those of 8 years or more.

Ensuring accessibility in playgrounds is essential. They are spaces that have become places of learning, Fun and conviviality, that become part of the urban scene and transcend, sometimes, to the cultural field. “This new vision has to do with very broad concepts of citizenship and this is where inclusion comes in.”, reasons Miren Jimenez.

The variety of play experiences and challenges allows people to participate socially and fully in an environment favorable to coexistence and diversity