ADA Access

Inclusive Playgrounds for Inclusive Play

An ADA Compliant Playground Means Fun for Everyone

A playground is an important part of a child’s life; it’s a place to gather with friends and make life-long memories. That’s why SafetyFirst is committed to helping schools, parks, and architects create playgrounds that all children can access independently. 

An ADA compliant playground includes specific parts, equipment, and design features that make the playground accessible for wheelchair users and other mobility devices. All the touchpoints from the time a child arrives and navigates the playground are considerations of playground inclusiveness. 

We understand that meeting the ADA playground guidelines can be challenging to understand or fit within your current playground budget. At SafetyFirst, our playground consultants will assess your playground and work with your team to develop a customized ADA playground plan. Our goal is to help you provide an inclusive playground experience while accommodating your project scope. We’ve upgraded existing and helped navigate the design process for new inclusive playgrounds, so we know what ADA playground equipment to use, how to prioritize features, and what general best practices to follow. 

We encourage you to evaluate your playground based on ADA playground federal requirements. A playground should be a place for all children to join in the fun, we can help ensure your playground is inclusive of all students, community members, and children.

SafetyFirst’s ADA Access Benefits

As a full-service playground maintenance company, we have the expertise and equipment to make your playground ADA compliant. Our collaborative approach to ADA playground consulting allows your team to understand the importance of each feature while receiving a playground-specific plan.

  • We create custom ADA accessibility pathways that provide wheelchair accessibility while complying with fall height requirements under high events
  • We offer Nature’sPlus, our engineered wood fiber surfacing, that passes ASTM 1951 for ADA Accessibility
  • We can help source and install ADA playground equipment from swings to large structures

SafetyFirst’s ADA Access Process

  • Assess the existing playground area for ADA compliance
  • Provide direction on best practices and options available to make the final decision
  • Installing ADA compliant equipment or surfacing

Components of an ADA Playground

When it comes to inclusive playgrounds, there isn’t a one size fits all approach. There are many different design layouts, equipment or events, and feature options available to follow ADA playground guidelines. When assessing your playground, we primarily focus on these four components: accessible pathways, ADA compliant surfacing, inclusive playground borders, and wheelchair accessible playground ramps.

1. Accessible Pathways

Pathways are one of the most important parts of offering an inclusive playground. Pathways allow wheelchairs to independently move throughout the playground from one event to another particularly in playgrounds with loose fill surfacing like engineered wood fiber. Depending on the layout, some playgrounds may use solid-surface pathways, such as impact mats or poured in place surfacing. 

2. ADA Compliant Surfacing

When it comes to accessible playground surfaces, there can be a limited number of options. It is important to check the surfacing certifications to know if it’s accessible. In addition to IPEMA certification, an ASTM 1951 certification indicates if it’s a wheelchair-accessible playground surface.

3. Inclusive Playground Borders

To offer an ADA playground, children, parents, and caregivers must be able to enter the playground without assistance. This means the borders that surround the playground must allow wheelchairs to easily enter the playground. 

4. Wheelchair Accessible Playground Ramps

In addition to ramps being used for border access, ramps must be available for elevated events. Accessible play areas are not confined to ground events but include the overhead events as well. It is important to look into the ADA compliance requirements for ramping before installing your playground because, for a certain number of elevated events, you need a certain number of ramps.

Is your playground accessible for all children? SafetyFirst can evaluate your playground to determine your ADA options.

What People Are Saying About Us

I have been using SafetyFirst surfacing material in my district’s playgrounds for several years now. We have been very impressed with the quality and impact attenuation of this product. I would highly recommend it for any organization looking for a quality, long lasting product for their playground surfacing needs.

Facilities and Safety Coordinator
Eden Prairie Schools, ISD 272

In my nearly 30 years of facility management, SafetyFirst is the finest playground service company I have worked with, Bob Clarin, president of SafetyFirst was always available and was on site daily. From the simplest repair, a missing bolt to a complete rebuild including drainage and play structure relocation, SafetyFirst completed the work well and on time.

Supervisor of Buildings & Grounds
Roseville Schools, ISD 623

I would like to express my satisfaction with the wood chips and mats that we have purchased from SafetyFirst. The chips bind together well to make a nice playground surface with the fall protection we need. Bob has always had the materials delivered on a timely basis and is very pleasant to work with. I am sure we will be doing more business Bob and SafetyFirst in the future.

Parks and Forestry Superintendent
City of Brookings, SD