Florida Day Care Centers – What Rules / Laws Apply to Outdoor Equipment and Playgrounds?

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Playground injuries are fairly common at Florida day care centers and could require hospital treatment. According to research, compliance with guidelines or standards can reduce the incidence of such injuries. The Florida Administrative Code, Rule 65C-22.002- Physical Environment, established the standards for outdoor equipment at a day care center.

All playground equipment at a child care center should be appropriate for the children’s age and development. Preschool and school-age children differ dramatically in their physical size and ability as well as their cognitive and social skills. As such, playground designs should accommodate these differences with regard to the type of equipment.

The playground equipment should be properly secured and maintained to ensure safe usage by the children. At least every other month, maintenance should inspect all above and below supports, connectors and moving parts on the playground equipment.

All equipment, permanent or stationary, must have a ground cover or other protective surface to absorb the shock of falls. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends at least 12 inches of safe ground cover. According to the Commission, acceptable forms of ground cover include: mulch, sand, wood chips, pea gravel, or rubber mats.

Regular inspections of the playground equipment ensure that the objects are free from sharp, broken and jagged edges that could harm children, and the equipment should be placed properly to prevent overcrowding in any one area. Lastly, the equipment should be constructed in an area that allows for water drainage.

For more information on this topic, see Rule 65C-22.002.