U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff is supporting voluntary standard activities for ASTM F2373, Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Public Use Play Equipment for Children 6 Months through 23 Months. Past CPSC staff involvement includes providing injury data for children less than 2 years of age and information on protective surfacing under and around equipment. As with playground equipment designed for older children, hazards associated with playground equipment for children under 2 include openings that have the potential for head entrapment; strangulation hazards and other design features related to user age; as well as layout of equipment; installation and maintenance procedures; and general hazards presented by protrusions, sharp edges, and pinch points. The main purpose for the development of ASTM F2373 was to address age appropriate equipment, playground layouts, safety surfacing requirements, and equipment performance unique to child care facilities. In the past, public and/or home playground equipment standards were applied in child care situations where they may not have been appropriate.
CPSC staff conducted a special study of emergency department-treated playground-related injuries involving children under 2 years old that occurred from October 2000 to September 2001. During the special study period, there were an estimated 8,250 children under the age of 2 treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments for injuries associated with playground equipment. The most common injury scenario was a fall (50 percent of the total injuries); the second most common injury scenario was impact – colliding with or being struck by playground equipment (22 percent). Lacerations, contusions, and abrasions were the most commonly reported injuries (52 percent). Fractures, sprains, and strains were the second most often reported injuries (30 percent).
Safety Handbook: In 2008, CPSC staff revised the Public Playground Safety Handbook to address hazards associated with public playgrounds. The revised handbook includes information specific to child care facilities and children less than 2 years of age. This handbook highlights the most important safety information that code officials, builders, child care facility operators, and consumers can use to plan, construct, and maintain an outdoor playground. This handbook is intended as guidance for playgrounds in public areas, parks, and commercial child care facilities.