How to Design Safe and Enjoyable Park Equipment and Site Amenities

park equipment

How to Design Safe and Enjoyable Park Equipment and Site Amenities

Playground equipment offers kids the chance to exercise physically, burn off energy and develop cognitive skills as they climb, swing and spin. It also helps them build healthy friendships and self-esteem.

Sturdy low slides are perfect for toddlers and young children. Spring riders rock smaller kids gently back and forth for bouncy fun.


Children love to play on playground equipment, but it is important that adults take some safety measures while children use the park equipment. Children should not climb too high or push or shove others when playing on equipment. Adults should also make sure that equipment is not rusting or in disrepair and that the surface around equipment is soft enough to cushion a fall or jump.

Kids should only be allowed to use equipment designed for their physical abilities and developmental stages. Zones should be separate to avoid overcrowding. Pathways that connect activity areas should allow easy travel for kids and adults.

The ground under and around equipment should be covered with soft material such as wood chips, sand or rubber matting to cushion falls. Surfaces should be free of exposed concrete footings, rocks and tree stumps. Swing sets should have a padded area at least twice the height of the suspending bar both in back and in front.

Clothing, such as necklaces or scarves, should be removed prior to using playground equipment. These items can get caught in equipment and cause strangulation. In addition, helmets should never be worn on playground equipment. Children could become injured in a fall or get a contact burn if their heads are hit by equipment or other kids. Also, helmets may prevent kids from moving and engaging in other activities during their parks visits.

Site Amenities

Site amenities are often overlooked when designing playgrounds or public spaces, but they can have a big impact on visitors’ experience and comfort. These elements include items like benches, trash receptacles, signs and bike racks that allow visitors to make the most of their time in your park or community space.

Commercial picnic tables are a classic site amenity that gives visitors a place to sit and relax while chatting or enjoying a meal together. With plenty of seating and a shady spot to rest, your guests will be more likely to stay longer at the park.

Adding trash receptacles throughout your park will reduce the amount of litter that is left behind by visitors, which also increases safety and cleanliness for everyone who uses your facility. Scattering these receptacles around your park is an easy way to encourage the use of them, park equipment and many styles can be matched to the look of your benches and other outdoor furniture.

Providing a place for people to park their bikes is a great way to increase the number of visitors to your park. By installing bike racks, you can give families the chance to leave their car at home and walk to your park for a day of fun outdoors. Keeping your site safe for children and adults alike is important, which is why you should consider installing playground safety equipment to keep visitors protected while they play.


When you have a public park, you need to have some type of seating for people. If you don’t, your visitors may not stay long or even visit again.

Typical seating options include bleachers and fixed benches. These are ideal for sports or concert events and provide a spot to rest, relax, or socialize with friends. Other seating arrangements are also available for parks. They can include benches, planter ledges, and more. They are perfect for resting and relaxing, or for enjoying the scenery of a park.

Another way to add seating is by providing seats that park equipment can be moved around, such as on a playground. This helps kids of all ages interact and engage in their social skills with others in the same space. You can also encourage communication between all ages by introducing equipment that allows them to create and share musical sounds together. For example, the musical xylophone called Vibes from the Concerto(tm) line gives children a chance to explore their sense of sound and creativity.

You can also incorporate pet areas for people to bring their pets with them to the park. This is a great way to get the whole community involved with the park and create a beautiful and welcoming space for all.


Signs can communicate important safety information, warn of a potential hazard or tell visitors about rules and guidelines. These informative signs can reduce your liability by helping keep your park safer and more enjoyable for all users.

Strangulation Warning: Loose clothing, hoods, drawstrings, jump ropes, pet leashes and similar items can present a strangulation risk if they get caught in equipment. Posting this warning helps prevent accidents by advising people to remove these potentially dangerous accessories before using playground equipment.

Surfacing Level Marker: These indicators help maintenance personnel and supervisors easily determine whether surfacing is in good condition or needs to be fluffed up. These directional markers are mounted to posts within the fenced area of a playground (or free-standing outside the playground) so that they can be seen by all users approaching from any direction.

Age Range of Equipment: This label lets supervisors know the ages of children who can use each piece of equipment. This can help reduce damage, breakage, misuse and accidents by kids who are too young to safely play on the equipment.

Other informative signs may include a Hot Surface Warning (a must in our Texas summers) and a Supervision Recommended message that reminds visitors of the need for adult supervision. These signs should be posted near all park equipment.