|Playground components should be at a transferable height|
Height of Play Components:
Play components, such as slides, spring rockers or swings must be at a transferable height. The entry point or seat height must be a minimum of 11 inches and a maximum of 24 inches above the required clear ground or floor space. This play component must also have a means of support for transfer, such as hand holds or gripping surfaces to help a child move onto the play component.
Interactive features of accessible play components, such as game panels, sound walls, raised sand and/or water tables, and pretend play props must be within the reach ranges of children using wheelchairs. These components must be no higher than 36 inches and no lower than 20 inches for children ages 2 to 5. For play components designed for use by children ages 5 to 12, the reach range can be no higher than 40 inches and no lower than 18 inches.
Maneuvering Space and Clear or Ground Space:
A play component must have a maneuvering space (measuring 60 inches by 60 inches) and a clear floor or ground space (measuring 30 inches by 48 inches); these spaces must be on the same level as the accessible play component.
Accessible play components must be connected to an accessible route at both the entry and exit
|Accessible play components must be connected to an accessible route at both the entry and exit points.|
points, which is particularly important when children traverse the play component. For example, children get on the slide from a deck on a play structure and get off the slide on the ground. If the child arrives to the top of the slide by a ramp, transfers onto the slide leaving his or her chair on the deck, and slides to the ground, he or she must connect to an accessible route so that the wheelchair can be brought to him or her. If the slide ends in the sand, there is no way to transfer the child walker or wheelchair to him or her.
The route surface must be both accessible (firm and stable) and resilient. Some loose-fill materials, such as sand and pea gravel, do not make good safety surfaces in some environmental conditions.
|The ground surface of a playground must be both accessible (firm and stable) and resilient|
Ongoing maintenance is needed to rake and roll compact top surface material to maintain transfer heights at component exits and under swings where the loose-fill material is kicked out of place. An annual replenishment of material that has compacted or migrated out of the area also is required for these materials to retain accessible characteristics. Loose-fill materials must be contained by a border which must have more than one opening to allow for accessible routes into the play area.
When there is a combination of loose-fill and unitary surfaces, special care must be taken so there are no trip/tip hazards at the transition point between the two surfaces and that changes in the levels do not exceed 1/2-inch. Loose-fill material needs to be kept cleaned off the unitary surface so that it does not obstruct the accessible route.
New products, such as recycled rubber, can contain and cover loose-fill materials to keep it in place and make it accessible with a unitary top mat. These new products require little ongoing upkeep and may last longer than loose-fills that are not top-dressed without an accessible covering. Some of these products may be initially more costly than loose-fill but less costly than unitary rubber surfaces.
Also, unitary manufactured rubber mats and poured-in-place rubber surfacing materials may be more costly initially but require very little upkeep over time and may last longer.