Commercial vs. Residential Playground Safety Standards

If you are in the market for a play set or other new equipment for a playground you’ll likely see references to safety standards and material grades. But how does all that differ when looking at commercial versus residential play sets? Read on to learn the differences (and similarities) between the two and which you should choose for your unique situation.

Industry Playground Safety Standards

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is the administrator and coordinator of the U.S. private sector voluntary standardization system. ANSI oversees the creation, promotion, and use of standards that impact businesses in practically any sector, ranging from construction to agriculture. In regard to playground surfaces and equipment, ASTM International (formerly know as American Society for Testing and Materials) has set a number of standards for both commercial as well as residential. According to ANSI website, “The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined injuries reported between 2001-2013 and concluded playground concussions are on the rise. ASTM standards for playgrounds and playground equipment specify performance criteria, test methods and safety considerations. Equipment and fencing along with the playground surfaces contribute to the safety and accessibility of playgrounds. Public playgrounds and home playgrounds represent different issues, so some ASTM standards address them separately.” ASTM also sets standards based on children’s age as well as their physical and mental abilities. ASTM playground standards are meant to reduce the likelihood of injuries on the playground.

Commercial Playground Equipment Standards

At Play Mart we design our commercial playground products to meet or exceed industry standards. Standards including compliance with ASTM standards, US Consumer Product Safety Commission Information Quality Guidelines, Americans with Disabilities Act Guidelines, maintaining our certification through IPEMA (International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association) for public play equipment, and more. (See more on our Design standards.) Generally, the standards for commercial play sets are more strict than those for residential play sets. Commercial play sets need to be much more durable and long-lasting, accommodate more children at the same time, and include more sight lines for supervision. There are also safety standards on guardrails, platforms, fall heights, activity zones—even the types of materials that can be used and the the space or “zone” around the play set.

Commercial play sets should be installed on community playgrounds, church and school yards, parks, and day care facilities.

Residential Playground Equipment Standards

Recent demand for residential play sets has inspired us to build our high quality equipment for the backyard. Our residential play sets are designed and build with the same safe and durable materials used on our commercial sets. But the Play Mart Residential Play Sets are built to comply with residential safety standards. ASTM standards are similar for both commercial and residential, however residential standards allow for additional components on a single play set. For instance on commercial play sets swings should be located apart from other play components or activity areas to prevent young children from inadvertently running into the path of a moving swing. This is why our commercial play sets do not have a swing bay attached.

By utilizing the same commercial grade materials Play Mart offers homeowners a commercial quality play set sized for the backyard.

Residential play sets can be installed (with easy Do-It-Yourself instructions) in backyards and for home child care outdoor play areas.