April 12, 2022

Five Essential Playground Maintenance Checks

- National Playground Safety Week is April 25-29, 2022 -

Did you know that nearly 60 percent of all injuries resulting in litigation list a lack of maintenance as the primary cause? 

This statistic rings true for the playground world as well. It’s essential to perform routine playground equipment maintenance many times each year. The more frequently you check and maintain your commercial playground equipment, the more you can prevent problems in the future. 

To celebrate National Playground Safety Week, here are five playground maintenance reminders to get you started. You can also request a copy of our playground maintenance checklist or comprehensive playground maintenance guide, free of charge. 

1. Playground Maintenance for Swings

When it comes to playground swing maintenance, the first thing to check is the chains. Ensure the chains are not twisted and don’t have excessive wear and tear.

After checking the chains, move on to the S-hooks. They should close within 0.04 inches each and not show signs of excessive wear. 

You also want to check the swing hangers, bushings, and seats to ensure they are in good condition. Swing seats should be smooth, and hangers shouldn’t have excessive wear and tear. All moving components should be secure and lubricated.

If your swing is a tire swing, check to ensure the tire seats are lightweight, smooth, and in good condition. Assembly components should be greased and free of any excessive wear and tear.  

2. Playground Maintenance for Surfacing

Playground safety surfacing is the foundation of your play and recreation space. Surfacing should be free from all debris and foreign material. If there is excessive debris on the surfacing, clean it up immediately to prevent a tripping hazard. 

If you have loose-fill surfaces, check to ensure everything is level or raked to proper depths- especially under swing and slide exits. You also want to double-check that everything is compacted.

Next, move on to the borders of your surfacing. Check that your park is free of exposed footings or loose borders/curbs. Finally, check your drainage system. There shouldn’t be any standing water on your surfacing. 

3. Playground Maintenance for Gripping and Stepping Components

Steps and climbers are fun ways for children to explore a playground. Let’s make sure they’re all in top condition.

Feel each hand gripping component to ensure it is secure and not rotating. Check all stepping surfaces and confirm they are level, stable, and clean.

4. Playground Maintenance for Slides

Slides are a quick check. Make sure the bedway and rails are smooth and clear of debris. You also want to double-check that the bedway at the platform is free of entanglement hazards. Slides are usually a favorite on the playground and need to be checked often for any excessive wear and tear.

5. Playground Maintenance for Fasteners

When checking fasteners, make sure all hardware is present, tight, and fully engaged. Some hardware might loosen as children play, so it’s important to tighten these loose pieces before something breaks, or the hardware gets lost. 

You also want to check the caps on the tops of the uprights. This gives your playground a finished look, prevents injuries, and keeps water and foreign objects from falling inside.

After checking the pipes, move on to the fitting and bearings. They should be functional, greased, and squeak-free. Don’t forget about the turnbuckles! They should be engaged and properly adjusted.

The last thing you want to check is your cables and ropes. They should be anchored and not unraveled in any way. Excessively worn cables can cause a hazard, so take your time and check each cable and rope. 

A Quick Check is All You Need

Playground repair and maintenance is a serious topic but not a daunting task. Most of the suggestions on our list are simple checks rather than taking something apart and putting it back together. If you stay on top of your reviews, you’ll prevent long-term repairs and mitigate hazards on the playground. 

While we list five of the most common playground maintenance checks in this article, this isn’t everything you need to know. Download our free guide for more information on performing routine playground maintenance. If you would like some free advice on maintaining your playground, contact the GameTime play expert in your neighborhood.