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How to Protect Playgrounds in the Winter

By Whirl Construction (451 words)
Posted in Commercial Playgrounds on November 2, 2015

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Just because the temperature is dropping, doesn’t mean that kids aren’t ready to rug up and get outside and play. Unlike adults, who may prefer to sit beside the fire and sip on a hot coffee, children are always ready to go.

So, when winter hits, ensure that the playground is ready to protect children from the elements and not be a safety issue that needs to be avoided.

Here are some handy hints to help you winterize your commercial playground.

Get a playground inspection

A great way to check whether a playground is ready for the weather is to get a Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) to look over the playground. They will be able to identify any potential safety hazards for winter.

Here are other playground items to check:

Wooden structures

If a wooden playground is starting to show wear or feels porous, then it is more likely to soak up the wet and even freeze over, making it slippery in cold temperatures. While the weather is still warm enough, it’s time to put some new layers of protection on a wooden playground.

If the wood has been stained, painted, or varnished, start by sanding back the top layer to prep the surface before re-covering it. If it just needs an extra stain layer, then put on a few coats and it will be ready to go.

If not, after sanding, paint on a primer over the top. From here, it’s possible to add a few coats of either paint or varnish, but go with a matte finish to ensure a higher grip factor. For traffic ways and rails, it is best to either add grip substance (similar to sand) to the paint or varnish, or buy a grip top coat to put over the top. Remember: oil-based substances can go over water-based substances, but not the other way around, unless a proper primer has been layered over it first.

Wooden ground coverings

Wooden mulch coverings can also freeze, making them rock hard and slippery – no good for falls. Now may be a good time to switch to rubber, which doesn’t freeze. If not, always check a wooden surface before little ones start playing for safety.

Slips and spills on flooring surfaces

Consider adding extra protection to the flooring surface for winter. Under high wear areas like underneath swings and at the bottom of slides, consider adding a wear mat to prevent slips.

Rust and corrosion

Coat metal surfaces with an anti-rust agent before winter hits so that there a no problems with rust during the rainy season.


If the surface is flat and is likely to puddle, now is the time to consider installing a draining system. Add holes and drainage to the flooring to avoid concentration of water in particular areas.

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International Playground Contractors Association New Jersey Recreation and Park Association Certified Playground Safety Inspectors Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute