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How to Protect Your Playground During the Winter

News and Articles Posted by The Wicksteed Team, 29 Nov 23
Though the weather can be colder and more unpredictable in the winter months, here at Wicksteed we still believe it is as important as any time of year to get outside and play. NHS guidelines suggest children under five years should be physically active for 3 hours each day, while older children need at least an hour, so why should this stop during winter? Whilst the winter months have an element of magic in the air, it is important to consider the potential hazards and risks that may occur. If you are looking to keep your playground protected over winter, Wicksteed has you covered with our top tips!   Keep it clear! Maintaining your playground all year round should be treated as a priority, but in winter it is more important than ever given the potential risks. It is therefore vital that your play area is prepared for winter. Ensure it is clear of fallen leaves and other debris if close to trees – leaves can become damp and rotten, and therefore slippery if left uncleared. If ice, snow or frost has been forecast, surfaces should be gritted to reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls, something which the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) highlighted as increasing over the winter.   Wet pour rubber surfacing Installing wet pour rubber surfacing on your playground is a key way of getting ready for winter. For example, Wicksteed’s wet pour safety surfacing is impact absorbing and slip resistant, which greatly helps to prevent accidents. Wet pour rubber surfacing is also porous, which stops puddles forming on the surface. This means that protection is not compromised, even in wet or winter weather.  This can be considered a safer surface choice than others, such as wood chips- which can become dangerous and sharp when frozen.     Inspect your equipment Equipment should be checked regularly to ensure it is still safe and suitable for use. Over winter this is more important than ever as equipment may succumb to the elements and harsher weather conditions. Look for any damage or potential repairs. If required, some equipment may need to be removed or repaired. Even small tasks, such as a fresh lick of paint, may help protect your equipment over winter. Wicksteed offer a playground inspection program which provides routine maintenance and playground inspections to ensure your equipment is safe and fit for use.   Encourage safety You may want to put up signage or displays advising playground visitors of potential safety hazards. Consider advising them of heightened risks of slipping in the colder months as well as encouraging children to wrap up warm, so they can make the most of playground during the shorter days. Why not explore Wicksteed’s range of signage offerings?   Consider new equipment As physical play equipment may be more dangerous in winter, consider alternative equipment that could be installed. Our range of toddler playground equipment still encourages physical activity but does not involve climbing, sliding or swinging which can be riskier in the winter. These stimulating and educational features are sure to brighten up your play area even on the dullest days. Alternatively, musical equipment could be incorporated into your playground. These encourage children to get creative and express themselves. This builds a multisensory experience and is also a more accessible activity to include on your playground.   Stay sheltered You may want to consider providing a sheltered area in your playground, ideal when running for cover during a downpour! Shelters also come in handy in the summer months to help protect from the harsh sun. ideas include playhouses for toddlers and seating areas for all ages. Wicksteed offers a range of products and services for playgrounds and play areas, including in-house design facilities, complete installation services, and fully trained inspection engineers. To find out more about how Wicksteed Leisure can help, contact our team via email, phone or complete our online enquiry form.
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