R&D Methodologies for the assessment of playgrounds











Designing safe playgrounds that are also attractive for children requires participative and multidisciplinary processes that are increasingly offering more innovative proposals that are in turn much harder to assess insofar as their risk versus their benefit to children is concerned. Current European regulations in the field of children’s playgrounds only regulate the requirements and tests in defined and traditional equipment. These regulations do not take into consideration the new and innovative proposals that are being added to playgrounds, which allow children to enjoy undirected free play, confronting risks and developing in a safe social environment.

The objective of the PARK RISK projects is to establish the basis for the development of free and inclusive playgrounds which also comply with safety and accessibility requirements, guaranteeing free play and assessing the beneficial risk for children.

The PARK RISK project began in 2018 and ends in 2019.

During 2018, the following tasks have been carried out:

  • A bibliographical review of the assessment of safety in playgrounds has been carried out at European and international level.
  • The different types of risks have been determined, defining what is and what is not a beneficial risk for a child.
  • A search was carried out for different play environments whose equipment and environments may present risks that are not covered by current European regulations, either because they are products designed using recycled materials, or they are non-defined, custom-made equipment, such as, for example, swings, slides, see-saws, etc. The defined environments were:
    • Play areas in nurseries and schools.
    • Recreational areas in hotels and leisure facilities.
    • Public playgrounds.
  • The dangers that may exist in play environments and equipment have been defined, as well as the type of injuries they may cause.

We intend carrying out the following tasks in 2019:

  • Once we have defined the dangers and the types of injury the different play equipment and/or environments may present, we will investigate the benefits that these dangers may present, how that risk can be minimised, and which risks should be avoided.
  • In addition, our intention is to develop matrix of hazards and benefits in order to assess the risk, and to draw up an assessment methodology.
  • Finally, we intend to produce a guide that provides guidelines for the development of safe and challenging playgrounds for companies in the Community of Valencia.

IVACE PROGRAMME: GVA line to boost the capacity and activity of AIJU in order to develop excellence in R&D, disseminating the results of the research carried out and facilitating and driving the transfer of knowledge to companies in the Community of Valencia.

  • Start date: January 2019
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Status: Work in progress