Playground Medic, based in Hawthorne, New York, is committed to making playgrounds safe “through identification of hazards and maintenance of playgrounds.”1 They achieve this through playground audits or inspections, maintenance and repair of playground equipment, and seminars to train playground staff, day care workers, and teachers aides.
The Playground Medic business was started by Peggy Payne and Janet Kuney, who had previously been play equipment and surfacing sales representatives. They saw that large amounts were being spent on new playground equipment and surfacing, but little attention was being given to maintenance. They worked with a small group of people, who were familiar with playgrounds and small businesses, and established the basis for their professional service business.
All Playground Medic safety assessments are done with their staff, who have been certified through the National Playground Safety Institute (NPSI) of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) as a Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI). They offer an in-depth audit, which focuses on the playground's compliance with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) guidelines, the ASTM International (ASTM), and the Americans with Disabilities Act – Final Rule (ADA) standards. These audits are for both new and existing playgrounds and establish a baseline for planning maintenance as well as a documentation of existing hazards with an evaluation of their degree of severity.
Playground Medic also offers an inspection by their CPSI staff, which focuses on imminent hazards and needed repairs. They offer annual contracts for periodic inspections, which can reduce exposure to costly litigation. Playground Medic also offers assessments and services specifically for those pursuing National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation.
Concerning maintenance of playgrounds, Playground Medic offers preventative maintenance to avoid deterioration of playground equipment and thus increase the life of existing equipment and surfacing. They are also available to repair playground equipment with their trained staff or to provide replacement parts and safety surfacing.
Playground Medic conducts trainings seminars in hazard identification, regular maintenance, safe playground design issues, handicapped accessibility, and supervision. They further educate the public through their website and free consultations.2
Since 75% of playground injuries are from falls, Playground Medic asserts that, “installing and maintaining an appropriate surface under playground equipment is probably the single most important thing one can do to keep a playground as safe as possible.”3 To facilitate making playgrounds safer, Playground Medic deals with both loose fill material and unitary synthetic material surfacing.
Playground Medic acknowledges that playground safety begins with a safe design. Their Playground Planning and Design Services are provided by an affiliate, Peggy Payne & Associates, Inc. Their expertise addresses planning the best design for the space, finding the best pricing, learning where to find available grants, guidance on timelines for the project, and assurance that the plan is compliant with current safety standards for equipment and surfacing.
- 1. “About Us.” Playground Medic. < http://www.playgroundmedic.com/Home.html > 23 Aug. 2010.
- 2. “Playground Problems.” Playground Medic. < http://www.playgroundmedic.com/Playground+Problems.html > 23 Aug. 2010.
- 3. “Playground Surfacing.” Playground Medic. < http://www.playgroundmedic.com/Surfacing.html > 23 Aug. 2010.