The Playhouse Company

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Teddy Bears Cottage

Safe play in your garden

We’re just about to start building a large and exciting playhouse for Longleat Safari Park to go in their adventure play area. This turned our thoughts to safe play and particularly in the garden – something we know a lot about!

Children love to play and stretch themselves. If you watch a group of children trying to climb a lovely old tree, the lower branches are not enough they need to see how high they can get – it's only once at the top of the tree that they start thinking about how to get back down!

This is the time in life when there’s little to worry about and you have the intrinsic belief that you are indestructible – it’s a lot of fun!

As parents we know that the world isn’t really like that but that doesn’t mean we want to be the men in white coats saying ‘don’t do this or that’. We need to ensure that they can do their learning in a safe environment so they can come down the tree in one piece and climb another tomorrow.

When buying an installing children’s equipment for the garden, there are a few simple rules which we follow and recommend to prevent healthy fun turning into an unscheduled trip to the local a&e department!

Here’s out top tips;

Keep activities as low as possible

  • Platforms do not need to be particularly high – as long as access to the platform is via steps, children will feel like they are up high and in a special place.
  • Grass / soil is deemed a sufficient soft fall surface for up to 1 metre (that’s just over 3ft).
  • A specific soft fall area is not just for safety but also provides an all-weather surface that will not become a mud bath in wet weather.

Take into account the age of the children

  • During the life of the activity equipment, the children are going to change dramatically, from small toddlers a little unsure on their feet at the age of 2, to confident, adventurous young people aged 7 – this is important to remember when buying.
  • The equipment should adapt to a growing child’s interests and abilities.

Keep equipment in good condition

  • All equipment needs a regular check over, nothing stays new.
  • Pay particular attention to moving parts and the state of soft fall areas.
  • For further information consult the ROSPA website http://www.rospa.com/