We want every person, young and wise, to feel safe and comfortable at the playground. We especially want to ensure that every child, no matter their ability, can play with their friends. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is an important part of making sure this happens. We’re here to help navigate the ADA guidelines and create the inclusive playground of your dreams.

In order to create that dream playground, we first need to understand the goal of the ADA. The ADA prohibits "discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications and access to state and local government' programs and services."

That includes your playground! Let’s break it down further…

According to the ADA, to be accessible or inclusive, a playground must have the following:

  1. An accessible path from the building or parking lot to the edge of the play area.
  2. An accessible path from the edge of the play area to the play equipment.
  3. Surfacing that complies with ASTM 1951 (Determination of Accessibility of Surface Systems Under and Around Playground Equipment).

We have several options for ADA compliant safety surfacing. Stay tuned later in the blog for design materials and components. Before we get into that, there are more important features to an accessible playground. 

Accessibility goes beyond surfacing and pathways. Additionally, once a child is in the play area, they must be able to access the equipment. This can be made possible by either moving out of their mobility device onto the structure via a transfer station or by direct access in their mobility device. A great way to ensure access to equipment is by adding ramps leading onto your equipment. Ramps must have a slope no greater than 1:12 (a ratio of one foot tall to twelve feet long). 

ADA Checklist

That concludes the ADA requirements for an inclusive playground. Want to make sure you cover all the bases? 

Here’s a checklist featuring all the elements your playground needs to be ADA compliant. Download a PDF for free!

  1. Accessible path from building and/or parking lot to play area
  2. Accessible path from edge of play area to play components
  3. Safety surfacing compliant with ASTM 1951
  4. Equipment featuring transfer stations
  5. Equipment featuring direct access with a mobility device
  6. Equipment is roughly 25% ground level
  7. Ramps leading onto play areas (with a slope no greater than 1:12)

Inclusive Play Components

Surfacing

Before you start browsing inclusive play equipment, choosing your accessible safety surfacing and pathway materials is a great initial step. To be inclusive, a level surface is necessary. Rubber safety surfacing is a wonderful choice. Our poured-in-place rubber and rubber tiles come from the industry leader in safety ratings, RubberBond

Free-Standing Play Components and Play System Elements

A truly inclusive playground exceeds the expectations of the ADA regulations. Every child has unique abilities. As playground designers, we want to ensure all those unique abilities are catered to. We have designed fun play equipment that is inclusive and accessible, meets the ADA guidelines and goes above and beyond to ensure an engaging play experience. Check them out in our lookbook:

 

Learn More About Inclusive Playgrounds 

Playgrounds are a safe place for children to come together and have fun - and every child, no matter where they come from or their circumstances, should have equal access to them. Download our guide on Inclusive Playgrounds below to learn more. 

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