Children's Playspaces and Equipment
This is the third edition of CAN/CSA-Z614, Children’s Playspaces and Equipment. It supersedes the previous editions, published in 1998 under the same title and in 1990 under the title A Guideline on Children’s Playspaces and Equipment.
In the 1998 edition of the Standard, the Technical Committee on Children’s Playspaces and Equipment worked to harmonize the technical aspects of the Standard with ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) F 1487, Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Playground Equipment for Public Use. Significant changes were made at that time. In this new edition, the Technical Committee has clarified wording throughout the document, addressed spaces for small children, and improved the information on surfacing materials.
Since the early days of this Standard, it has become easier to track injuries and fatalities on playspaces. Thousands of Canadian children are injured yearly on playspaces, mostly from falls. Other potential hazards encountered by children include sharp edges and impacts with swings. Clothing and drawstring entanglement, entanglement in ropes tied to equipment, and head entrapment in equipment have caused many of the fatalities related to play equipment. The specifications laid out in this Standard will not prevent all injuries, but they are intended to minimize the likelihood of life-threatening or debilitating injuries. Supervision of children, particularly younger children, is still vital to safe play. The other key element in preventing injuries is ensuring that the equipment and the surfacing of a playspace are properly maintained.
The Technical Committee also sought to develop requirements for the accessibility of playspaces to children with special needs. Unfortunately, these requirements are still being developed. In the meantime, the Committee decided to refer interested parties to agencies such as the Ontario Parks Association (see their publication Playability Tool Kit (Hamilton, Ontario: OPA, 2003)).
This Standard was prepared by the Technical Committee on Children’s Playspaces and Equipment, under the jurisdiction of the Strategic Steering Committee on Community Wellbeing and Safety, and has been formally approved by the Technical Committee. It has been approved as a National Standard of Canada by the Standards Council of Canada.
This Standard provides requirements for public-use playspaces and play equipment intended for use by children aged 18 months to 12 years with anthropometric limits based on the 95th percentile.
1) The level of challenge required and desired by children varies enormously with age, physical development, and emotional development. Consequently, it is almost impossible to design a piece of play equipment that meets the needs of all children. It is generally accepted that children younger than 18 months and children aged 13 years and older do not usually use the equipment covered in this Standard.
2) The sixth year of a child's life (when the child is 5 years old) is accepted as a transitional year. Consequently, the requirements in this Standard are split into two age groupings: 18 months to 5 years and 5 years to 12 years. The overlap of the 5-year-old child is deliberate and acknowledges the transitional nature of the sixth year of life.
This Standard applies to public-use playspaces and play equipment found in schools, parks, child-care facilities, institutions, multiple-family dwellings, private resort and recreation developments, restaurants, and other areas of public use.
This Standard contains recommendations on technical requirements and practices applicable to the design, manufacture/construction, installation, maintenance, and inspection of public-use playspaces and play equipment.
This Standard applies to
a) public-use playspaces built and play equipment manufactured after the date of publication of this edition; and
b) additions and replacement parts to public-use playspaces installed after the date of publication of this edition.
The Standard provides requirements for public-use play equipment in a playspace that is provided for children for play, although this equipment may not be originally produced for that purpose. Other objects or furnishings in a playspace not primarily intended for play, such as fences, fencing, benches, and tables, are not covered. Note: The equipment configurations shown in the figures in this Standard are examples only. Configurations other than those shown can be designed and built to meet the requirements specified in the clauses of this Standard.
This Standard is intended to promote and encourage the provision and use of playspaces that are welldesigned, well-maintained, innovative, and challenging, and, in so doing, contribute to the development of healthy children in the broadest sense of the word.
This Standard does not apply to the following:
a) sport, fitness, or gymnasium environments;
b) slides that end in water;
c) soft contained play equipment that has controlled public access, such as commercial establishments(e.g., restaurants, department stores);
d) play equipment intended for backyard use; and
e) amusement rides.
A tolerance of ± 2% should be applied to each dimension presented in this Standard.
In CSA Standards, shall is used to express a requirement, i.e., a provision that the user is obliged to satisfy in order to comply with the standard; should is used to express a recommendation or that which is advised but not required; and may is used to express an option or that which is permissible within the limits of the standard. Notes accompanying clauses do not include requirements or alternative requirements; the purpose of a note accompanying a clause is to separate from the text explanatory or informative material. Notes to tables and figures are considered part of the table or figure and may be written as requirements. Legends to equations and figures are considered requirements.