Many people don’t think of adults when they think of playgrounds, but adult playgrounds are becoming increasingly popular in many countries as local governments recognize the importance and health benefits of adult activity and play. However, like child playgrounds, adult playgrounds do require equipment maintenance.
Adult playground equipment must be maintained regularly to keep visitors safe and to maintain equipment quality over a period of several years. Not only does this prevent injury, it also improves the experience of people who visit. Maintaining playground equipment for adults includes inspection, sanitation, and repair/replacement of equipment.
There are many things that operators and owners to know about adult playground maintenance to make sure that the equipment is kept in tip-top shape. Keep reading to learn more about maintaining adult playground equipment and what it entails.
Adult Playground Equipment Needs Maintenance Just Like Child Playgrounds
Adult playgrounds are a fairly new occurrence in cities and municipal areas, as more and more adults realize the mental health and physical health benefits of adult play. Because they’re not that common yet, many people also may not consider the type of maintenance that needs to go into an adult playground to keep it both safe and appealing to use.
Adult playground equipment needs just as much maintenance as child playground equipment. In fact, it often requires a bit of extra equipment maintenance for a few different reasons:
- Adults weigh more. Because the playground equipment has to deal with the extra weight of holding adults, it needs to be inspected regularly to make sure that none of the equipment loses its weight-carrying capacity, as an equipment collapse could potentially be very dangerous for any adults on it at the time.
- Adult playground equipment may see more use. There are tons of child playgrounds in most areas so workload is distributed between them, but many places may only have access to one adult playground. That means every adult in a nearby radius will be using the same equipment, so it’s more likely to break down faster.
- Adults can easily sue if injuries occur and there is equipment negligence found during post-accident inspection. Playground injuries are relatively common, with 45% of reported injuries resulting in serious injuries such as internal bleeding, dislocations, or skeletal fractures. Because of their added weight (and in many cases their reduced fitness in comparison to children) adults may be at more risk of serious injury than children.
Adult playgrounds need as much maintenance as child playgrounds. These aspects make the maintenance of adult play spaces and equipment even more important. After all, it’s never worth risking a serious injury to visitors.
The Importance of Inspecting Adult Playground Equipment
A major part of adult playground equipment maintenance is inspection, and inspections should be conducted regularly for a few important reasons. Here are a couple of them:
- To keep people safe: First and foremost, regular adult playground equipment inspections should be conducted to make sure that no adults playing on the equipment are injured or killed as a result of the playground being worn or damaged. While not all accidents on playground equipment are avoidable, those accidents that can be avoided should.
- To protect investments: By keeping adult playground equipment in good condition, it not only protects visitors from injury, it also prevents equipment from falling into disrepair to the point that it needs to be replaced rather than repaired.
- To limit legal liability: It’s true that playground accidents are bound to happen no matter how careful their operators or owners are, but making sure that playground equipment inspections and maintenance are strictly adhered to can go a long way towards protecting the owners of the playground equipment in court should an injured visitor attempt to sue.
- To improve the experience: Making sure that playground equipment stays clean and in good working condition makes the playground experience more enjoyable to anyone who decides to visit it. This does nothing but attract even more visitors to the site, since word of how nice the playground is spread quickly when it’s taken care of.
Inspecting playground is good for everybody involved—the visitors get a safer, more entertaining experience, and the operators are protected from lawsuits (frivolous and otherwise).
Special Considerations for Maintaining Adult Playground Equipment
In comparison to child playground equipment, there are several special considerations that need to be factored into inspecting and maintaining adult playground equipment:
- The weight factor: Not only does adult playground equipment have to be rated for adults versus children, points of load stress such as platforms and other potential weak spots should be inspected at a high frequency to make sure that the equipment hasn’t been damaged by excess weight caused by multiple large adults using the equipment simultaneously.
- The vandalism factor: Some playgrounds that are geared towards adult visitors, such as skateparks, may be more vulnerable to vandalism such as graffiti and tagging than child playgrounds. This means that equipment may need to be inspected more frequently to find and remove signs of vandalism to keep up the appearance of the park.
The main thing these factors have in common is that they suggest adult playground equipment should ideally be inspected and maintained at a rate even higher than child playground equipment.
High Frequency Inspections vs. Low Frequency Inspections of Playground Equipment
There are two types of main inspections that should be performed to maintain adult playground equipment—these can be broken down into low frequency and high frequency inspections.
High frequency inspections are completed more often than low frequency inspections but are also done in a more cursory manner. (Source: Playcore) These inspections are performed to check adult playground equipment for damage from vandals, equipment users, the weather, and other environmental factors. Here are some of the things that should be checked for in a high frequency inspection on adult playground equipment:
- Inspections for equipment that is missing parts, vandalized, loose, or damaged
- Inspections for equipment that have sections with dents or bends
- Inspections for equipment that feels shaky or unstable on its foundation
- Inspections to ensure that users have not modified parts of the equipment
- Inspections to all moving parts of the playground equipment to ensure correct operation
Low-frequency inspections are not done as frequently as high-frequency inspections—usually once every three months or a few times a year—but they tend to be more in-depth and often include assessing playground equipment for necessary major repairs, renovations, or even replacement.
Low frequency inspections also check for more minor indications of disrepair, such as the following:
- No signs of rust or paint flaking that may indicate the necessity to repaint equipment
- No sharp edges, damage, or other problems which necessitate repair
- All wooden surfaces show no signs of warping, mildew, cracking, or splintering
- All metal welds are completely intact and show no sign of wear
- All grips and footholds still have their slip-free surfacing
Low frequency inspections may not happen as often as high frequency inspections, but they’re more likely to result in major repairs or maintenance on the adult playground equipment such as paint jobs, replaced wooden components, or weld repair.
In any case, regular inspection of adult playground equipment is what facilitates swift repairs that help prevent injuries.
Adult Playground Equipment Needs Regular Maintenance to Remain Safe
Like child playgrounds, adult playgrounds need just as much maintenance to remain safe and enjoyable to use. This includes regular inspections for damage to repair as well as cosmetic maintenance such as paint jobs.
The reward for keeping an adult playground well-maintained is less incidence of accidents, less liability, and more happy visitors. It’s a win-win for everyone involved!