Your first line of defense against this liability is to ensure that the equipment you purchase is for commercial use and carries with it the appropriate Children’s Product Certificate (CPC). The CPC is a document that shows that the product has been tested and that it complies with all rules and regulations regarding children’s use. Federal law requires that manufacturers or importers use third-party labs for this testing. The testing lab does not issue the CPC, but the manufacturer or importer must show proof that the product equals or exceeds requirements set by the Children’s Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which administers the regulations. The manufacturer or importer of a playground slide must furnish a written copy of the CPC to its retailers and distributors or provide them the address of the website where they can obtain it. If you purchase outdoor playground equipment, slides included, be sure you ask for a written CPC.
There are many different types of age-appropriate playground equipment: Slides for outdoor use are available in various designs, colors, and sizes for the playground you are developing. After only a few minutes on a playground, you will see first-hand the fun kids have on playground slides. A free-standing slide from AAA State of Play is built to commercial standards and provides safe entertainment for kids up to 12 years old. The materials used vary from stainless steel to plastic, even recycled plastic. The price will also vary depending on the design of the slide. There are wave slides, spiral slides, tunnel slides, and even multiple chute slides curving in different directions off of the same frame, all of which may be purchased online. The AAA State of Play site even provides the “use zone” requirement for its commercial slides, helping you in the planning stage of your organization’s project. A free-standing slide has cost benefits because it can be installed easily and will fit into smaller playgrounds between swing sets or climbing equipment. The price of a slide will vary from less than $1,000 for small, simple slides to around $10,000 for slides designed for older children, such as tall spiral slides, spiral tube slides, or triple-chute slides. No matter what your budget is, you can find commercial playground slides to meet it.
If you are the purchasing agent for a company and you are assigned to purchase a playground slide or other play structures for an outdoor playground, then your first consideration must be safety. For example, in the state of New York, an average of 16 children up to 14 years of age are treated at hospitals each day for injuries sustained on playground equipment. Indeed, more than 200,000 children in the are treated each year for such injuries. You could be exposing your organization to unnecessary liability unless you make safety a priority. This is true if you represent a municipal, state, or federal park or recreation department, a school district, a day care center, a church, or any other organization where there may be outdoor playground equipment. To make sure you do your “due diligence,” visit the and obtain a “tool kit” to help you plan an outdoor playground that includes appropriate safety features for the community your project will serve.