Release date: August 24, 1978
Release number: 78-073

Release Details

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today voted to work with industry to upgrade the voluntary safety requirements for home or ""backyard"" play equipment such as swing sets, slides and climbing apparatus.

The Commission's vote was two-fold. While it denied a consumer's petition for the development of mandatory product safety standards for home playground equipment, the Commission authorized the CPSC technical staff to participate in developing amendments to improve the current voluntary standard.

That standard was initiated at the request of the National Association of Children's Home Playground Manufacturers and was approved by the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) in 1975. It became effective October 1, 1976.

While the CPSC staff believes the existing voluntary standard "generally addresses the types of injuries which (it) believe(s) can be addressed by an equipment standard," the staff suggested three areas in which the voluntary standard could be improved. These focus on swing seat impact, slide side height and protection from protruding bolts. Besides its consideration of the voluntary standard for home playground equipment, the Commission currently has under study possible safety requirements for public playground equipment.

The Commission estimates from its data sources that there were some 41,000 injuries associated with home playground equipment last year (some 52,000 in 1975 and 46,000 in 1976). In a 1976 Special Report on the 1975 injury data, CPSC identified five major hazard patterns associated with home playground equipment: the risks of falls, protruding bolts, sharp edges, impact with moving equipment, and entrapment of clothing or body parts.

Though falls and impacts with moving equipment accounted for 74% of the injuries in the special study, CPSC staff believes injuries from such hazards could be only partially affected by equipment modification. The staff summary notes that equipment maintenance and placement, child age and behavior, and supervision all affect these injuries.

Those injuries believed to be non-addressable by equipment modification include those described as behavior-related, such as group play and use patterns, sometimes by overly energetic and imaginative children, that involve daring risks.

To address behavior-related hazards, the Commission is initiating an intensive information and education program directed primarily at both parent and the 3 - 12 year old age groups and secondarily to those who can serve as a conduit for such information. These would include park and recreation authorities, day care and nursery school workers and teachers, elementary school teachers, leaders of organized children's groups, such as Boy and Girl Scouts and church youth clubs - as well as any other concerned adults and teenagers who may, at times, supervise children.

The program materials address the hazards associated with both public and home outdoor playground equipment.

The Commission's vote was two-fold. While it denied a consumer's petition for the development of mandatory product safety standards for home playground equipment, the Commission authorized the CPSC technical staff to participate in developing amendments to improve the current voluntary standard.

That standard was initiated at the request of the National Association of Children's Home Playground Manufacturers and was approved by the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) in 1975. It became effective October 1, 1976.

While the CPSC staff believes the existing voluntary standard "generally addresses the types of injuries which (it) believe(s) can be addressed by an equipment standard," the staff suggested three areas in which the voluntary standard could be improved. These focus on swing seat impact, slide side height and protection from protruding bolts. Besides its consideration of the voluntary standard for home playground equipment, the Commission currently has under study possible safety requirements for public playground equipment.

The Commission estimates from its data sources that there were some 41,000 injuries associated with home playground equipment last year (some 52,000 in 1975 and 46,000 in 1976). In a 1976 Special Report on the 1975 injury data, CPSC identified five major hazard patterns associated with home playground equipment: the risks of falls, protruding bolts, sharp edges, impact with moving equipment, and entrapment of clothing or body parts.

Though falls and impacts with moving equipment accounted for 74% of the injuries in the special study, CPSC staff believes injuries from such hazards could be only partially affected by equipment modification. The staff summary notes that equipment maintenance and placement, child age and behavior, and supervision all affect these injuries.

Those injuries believed to be non-addressable by equipment modification include those described as behavior-related, such as group play and use patterns, sometimes by overly energetic and imaginative children, that involve daring risks.

To address behavior-related hazards, the Commission is initiating an intensive information and education program directed primarily at both parent and the 3 - 12 year old age groups and secondarily to those who can serve as a conduit for such information. These would include park and recreation authorities, day care and nursery school workers and teachers, elementary school teachers, leaders of organized children's groups, such as Boy and Girl Scouts and church youth clubs - as well as any other concerned adults and teenagers who may, at times, supervise children.

The program materials address the hazards associated with both public and home outdoor playground equipment.

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