ADA Celebrating 25 years!

Twenty-five years ago, on July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the “Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Our nation committed itself to eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities. The Federal Department played a critical part in enforcing/regulating the ADA Act, geared toward providing a future in which all doors are open to fairness of opportunity, full participation, independent living, integration and self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities. This also includes full participation in state and local government programs and services, employment and public facilities, such as playgrounds and large event arenas, both indoor and out.

For more information regarding ADA compliance and your playground you may review the guidelines at: www.playgroundsfety.org/standards/ada or www.nrpa.org

If you have any questions or concerns and would like to discuss making your playground ADA compliant, please contact our office to schedule an inspection at 602 395-2626 or email: info@totlotservices.com

 

Supervision & Safety: Go Hand in Hand Aug/Sept 2014

These next few months we will focus on Adult Supervision and Safety.

They say one of the keys to the safety of a child is adequate and/or adult supervision. Too many times small children visit community parks unaccompanied by an adult or left in the company of an older child. Other times, when adults have been present, their attention is focused on their electronic devices or other adults. While still, younger children that are left to play unattended tend to follow along to a playground designed for older children and vice versa; the older children wind up playing unsafely on toddler equipment and/or play areas.

There are many factors that can lead up to an injury on a playground. Most of the injuries are the result of falls. In fact the percentages of injuries from a fall are greater than any other. Another reason is due to broken equipment and/or poor or insufficient maintenance. If a particular piece of equipment is broken, often times the break is not apparent to either children or adults.

Inadequate play surfacing can result in an injury. Protruding bolts, broken glass in sand, protective rubberized coating peeling away and exposing metal, a hand or guard rail may be loose and or missing hardware, a swing chain link, clevis or shackle may wear, fasteners may have come loose or removed. All the above mentioned are safety hazards to name a few.

Though each structure should be appropriately labeled for age appropriate use and play, often times they are peeled off or wash away over time.

Supervision is critical, especially for the younger aged group of children who routinely share one common play area within a community or park. Eyes on where they are, what they are playing on and if it is on equipment that is age appropriate for each individual child is equally as important. We must all make an effort to ensure that parks, schools, and anywhere there is a playground present are safe to use; that all equipment and surfacing are functioning at their optimum levels and that when at all possible, there is adequate supervision when and where applicable.

If you would like to learn more about our playground inspections and services, please visit our website at: www.totlotservices.com . Be Safe!

Spring; let’s talk about Rockers! May 2014

Because rockers are constantly in motion, spring rockers wear out and need repairs more frequently than stationary pieces or equipment. Most rockers are supported by large coiled springs that move to and fro; hence the same, “spring rockers”.

Spring Rockers should be checked regularly for loose or missing hardware, cracks or breaks around hand holds, seats or foot pedals. The footers should also be checked for anchoring.

The most effective way to take a spring rocker out of service when a part is missing and or broken and poses a safety issue is quite simply to unbolt the unit from the footer and remove it from the playground until the part can be replaced. However, as most rockers have footer plates with protruding bolts, which can pose additional safety hazards, it may be necessary to secure the plate/footer with a support post cover. Barricading or using caution tape to seal off the area is also recommended. Never remove the rocker and leave any bolts or metal exposed and protruding from the play surface. Rock Springers, when regularly maintained can endure the harshest of whether, play and use.

When in doubt, contact your Tot Lot Maintenance Company for proper assessment, removal and/or repairs.

 

“There IS a cure for the Summertime Blues….”

Don’t let your playground go without maintenance during the summer time months. Here in Arizona, as we know, the tough summer months can break down the toughest of materials and give any community and the children the “Summertime Blues” . If your HOA doesn’t have a budget for monthly service, they should consider breaking up the service by way of usage. We know that when school is out, the playgrounds get used more frequently; either in the early mornings or late evenings in Arizona in order to avoid the heat. Also, if there is a break down in the rubberized material and any chipping or peeling on the vinyl coating and any part of metal is exposed, this can be harmful to tiny hands that reach out to steady themselves or to grab on for support. The exposed metal can cause burns ranging from minor to major depending on the exposure to direct sun light. An HOA can help determine the frequency of use and select the best “maintenance plan” along with service that will fit their budgetary needs without compromising the safety of the children at play. Keep in mind that when playgrounds go months without service, the potential for major injuries increase as broken or loosened parts go undetected.  Some maintenance is better than none. If your playground needs change, your service provided should be able to accommodate your community’s needs. A Tot Lot Maintenance compnany should be able to recommend the best course of action and be able to provide your community with a complete maintenance plan in order for your playground to be compliant and provide a safe place for children to play.

Happy and Safe Holidays – Christmas 2013

Maintaining  and preserving Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF)

You should maintain your playground EWF area in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and check the following regularly:

  1. Visually inspect the entire playground area and remove all debris, trash, foreign matter, etc.
  2. Rake the EWF to keep the surface level and the thickness to the original depth. A level surface is important and necessary for wheelchair access and compliance with ADA requirements.
  3. At accessible entrances onto the playground surface, ensure that the surface material, accessible route or the top of the access ramp is within ¼ inch of the top of the play area border.
  4. In the highest use areas and around equipment footers, dig down to the subsurface or drain system and measure the depth of the EWR. Ensure that the depth is sufficient for the fall height of the structure or at the manufacturer’s recommended depth.
  5. If your playground includes “wear mats”, visually inspect for general wear, cracks and tears. Be sure to add EWF around the mats to ensure a smooth transition. Turns mats over periodically and add EWF beneath them to bring mats up to original grade/level.
  6. Always make sure there is no standing water on the playground surface. It is critical to have a functioning drainage system to improve surface resilience.

On a final note, always ensure that your products are IPEMA Certified for impact attenuation within the use zone of the playground equipment.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please call us at (602) 395-2626 or email us directly at: www.totlotservices.com.

Autumn and Playgrounds: Nov 2013 Blog

 

One great thing to love about fall/autumn in Arizona is the obvious; it isn’t melting hot! The temperatures remain in the upper 70’s to mid-80’s making this ideal for outdoor enjoyment. Parks, playgrounds and outdoor activity centers become a place to hang out for children and adults alike.

For this reason, we must assure that equipment and play areas are maintained and in working order even more so. Because there will be more traffic and activity, you may want to consider adding tot lot maintenance service if your community currently isn’t serviced or consider adding Tot Lot Inspections periodically.

Depending on the area and population you live in, perhaps an inspection is all this is needed; be it, monthly, quarterly or semi-annual. All would depend on the community’s needs.

Inspections can play an important part of maintenance due to the purpose it serves. It can be an important tool to help you identify, rectify and/or eliminate a safety hazard all together.   Also, an inspection can call attention to a situation, which if remedied promptly, will be less likely to end up being so costly.

If you would like more information regarding Tot Lot Inspections or Tot Lot Maintenance please visit our website at: www.totlotservices.com or contact us directly at: (602)395-2626.

Thank You

May Blog 2013: Don’t Scrap It…Restore It!

We see so many tot lots and ramada equipment that are in compliance and will last a long time but that are beginning to look old and faded on the steel parts.

We do offer a D.T.M. professional paint process with Amerashield VOC paint for play equipment including picnic tables, park benches, trash receptacles, bike racks, ramadas etc. This includes vinyl coated steel equipment.

This product is used in the factory on OEM heavy equipment, structural steel bridges, tanks, piping and more.

Amerashield Voc is a high gloss, high build, abrasion and chemical resistant topcoat that can be applied over steel and concrete substances.  This product is an aliphatic polyurethane with a unique acrylic and polyester blend that provides superior performance in abusive environments such as play and ramada equipment. It is an extremely durable paint. This is not a latex or enamel simple repaint.

We have repainted play equipment, trash receptacles, benches and tables for over 7 years now and they all have held up with excellent results.

There are some limits though. This product cannot be applied to the horizontal rubber coated decks because they become too slippery. However we power spray with 2,500 p.s.i. to brighten up the decks with great results.

Also the plastic components cannot be painted.

Wait ‘til you see what we can do for your tot lot!

Tot Lot Sand

Have you thought about what lies within the sand at your tot lot?

 The sand in your tot lot is a necessary and mandated protective surface. Our children play in the sand as well as fall on to it. It is important to remember the sand may get racked but it should be power sifted depending on conditions, every 12-24 months.

 Unfortunately there are many impurities in the sand such as landscape materials, trash, debris, pet waste and possibly unseen broken glass to name just a few. Therefore you can see the importance of sifting. Raking may do a decent job for a while but what does not get picked up accumulates and then gets buried into the sand.

 The power sifter will not get out 100% of the impurities but it does get out almost all of it and is the most effective way to remove it. On most sand lots we normally get many buckets of debris per sand lot.

 Also if the sand has become hard because of excessive over watering, flooding or landscape eroding into it, the power sifter may not be able to loosen it up again so make sure to keep the water away from the sand.

 If the steps are taken to keep the sprinklers off of the sand along with any kind of eroding into the sand and it is power sifted the sand will be clean and last many years. Most importantly our children will have a safe and clean place to play.

 Thank You

Regular Maintenance Service

The heat is here and the kids are outside playing on your equipment. Don’t be caught with unknown hazards that are brought to your attention because of injuries. Regular maintenance is a must to reduce and hopefully eliminate injuries to our children.

Regular Maintenance Service is what is necessary to help keep the play equipment in compliance.

Whichever service schedule you would choose to have our company do, you will receive an inspection by a certified playground safety inspector per tot lot per service. We power spray all of the playground and ramada equipment with 2,000 p.s.i. of boiling hot sanitizing solution. We also tighten any loose specialty nuts and bolts, replace general nuts and bolts, remove as much graffiti as possible, rake and level the sand or engineered wood fiber, sweep or blow off the sidewalks, ramada floors and tot turf. We will take digital photos of the repairs needed and quickly send them to you in an e-mail and/or phone call followed by a price for repair. If there is immediate danger we will barricade or tape off the tot lots affected.

Considering installing a playground on your own?

When HOA playgrounds or tot lots are installed, in order to be in compliance a playground design architect has to measure the area first to determine what equipment can be installed and still be in compliance. Every piece of play equipment has a specific use zone that all has to work in concert with the rest of the equipment. Even after it is installed it has to be determined according to the height how deep the sand, wood fiber or shredded rubber should be. Then the same has to be done for ADAAG mandated poured in place tot turf. In addition to the depth of this they have to determine how much square footage of each will be. Then they have to determine how much earth has to be removed to assure the equipment will be at the proper height for the protective surface. 

Virtually every part, pipe, clamp, deck, nut, bolt, slope of the decks etc. has to be exact down to the size of the bolts and what kind they can be. 

If an inexperienced or unlicensed installer installs this it is likely you will have a difficult time finding a company to do an audit so it can be open for use.

 I also believe it would have a very difficult time passing the audit. I would not recommend having it installed this way. We do not do new complete installs for this reason and will only use IPEMA certified play equipment and manufacturer approved installers. 

Please remember the goal is to have fun in a safe environment. Just something to consider, I hope this helps. 

Thank You

 

Paul

Tot Lot Services Inc.

 

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