How to look after your playground equipment in the winter months

As the winter begins in the UK, ensuring that playground equipment remains protected during the colder, wetter months is vital. Rain and cold can have a big impact and it’s crucial that any play area remains safe even during adverse weather conditions. So, what do you need to know when it comes to how to look after your playground equipment in the winter months?

What to bear in mind during the winter months

Some of the most common challenges for playground equipment in winter revolve around the cold. When the temperature drops below freezing this can cause surfaces to harden, making injuries much more possible, and safety becomes even more important. Children may also feel the cold more than adults and this can affect how playground equipment is used in winter, as well as whether it is used at all. Rain can also be very challenging, especially if the surface you’ve chosen isn’t particularly suitable for large volumes of water. The ground can become muddy and slippery, making it unsafe, and this can also lead to contaminants being spread or tracked indoors.

How to look after your playground equipment

There are some simple ways to ensure that playground equipment remains safe and usable in the winter. These include:

  • Investing in a de-icer for the surface of the playground so that children aren’t sliding around on ice patches.
  • Keeping up a regular schedule of maintenance on play flooring that you’ve invested in so that it stays free from moss and contaminants. The play flooring you’ve chosen will have a big impact on how much children can use playground equipment in winter – and how safe this is going to be. Ensuring that this flooring is well maintained will mean you’re getting the best possible performance from it and minimising the risks that can arise from damage or wear and tear.
  • Replacing a surface that could be tricky during the winter. Some surfaces are simply more suitable than others when it comes to play in winter weather conditions. So, you can create a big change in how your playground performs during the winter by installing a new and more appropriate surface. For example, if you’ve opted for real grass that may end up as a mud bath it might be worth switching to artificial grass.
  • Think about areas where you could create shelter when it’s rainy or cold and alternative play areas so that children can still enjoy the playground equipment in the winter. Shelters provide physical warmth and can also change the way that children react to a playground environment, helping them to feel more comfortable and relaxed as they know there is somewhere available to warm up. Including seating in shelters can also be an effective way to help create a more social environment.

Playground equipment requires constant, year round attention to ensure that it remains safe and accessible. However, it’s often during the winter months when the most effort is required.