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Playground Safety

Our award winning playground safety program began in the fall of 2000. The Playground Safety & Planning Team was established by the District to develop Standard Facility Guidelines for playgrounds as well as annual training for Playground Supervisors. The District won the prestigious “John Preston Safe Playground Award” in 2006 and continues to be a leading example for school districts and public entities across the Country.

Philosophy & Standard Facility Guidelines for Elementary School Playgrounds

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District uses the National Program for Playground Safety “SAFE” model as the basis for elementary school playground design within the District.  A Lee’s Summit R-7 School District playground must meet or exceed the intent of the ADA Accessibility Guidelines as well as follow the Consumer Product Safety Guidelines (CPSC) and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standards.


A Lee’s Summit School District playground should be free of blind spots and areas that prevent supervisors from clear and unobstructed visual access.   Playgrounds must be designed in a manner that will help prevent unauthorized persons from gaining access to the playground.   The design should keep balls, other playground items or children from leaving the premises.

Age-appropriate equipment

In order to provide a safe play environment for all children in the District, playgrounds should be based on the predictable play behaviors of children.  We believe that this goal can be accomplished by incorporating a separate playground for Kindergarten students and a combined playground area with elements that engage the following sub-groups into meaningful and safe play experiences:

  • 1st – 3rd  Grade
  • 4th – 6th  Grade

District Safety Data indicates that utilizes these separate classifications can reduce injuries on our playgrounds while at the same time better meeting the needs of the children.

Fall surfacing

All loose-fill play areas are to contain adequate drainage underneath and be filled with approved rubber loose-fill material that meets CPSC, ASTM and ADA accessibility guidelines.  Loose-fill containment borders should be made of non-toxic materials.  Play pods when practical should be made flush with ground level when ever possible for easy transfer and prevention of a trip/fall hazard.  The use of approved poured-in-place or rubber tile surfacing on accessible routes, staging areas and play pod surfaces is an acceptable SFG alternative only when required by specific site based programs (EMH) and can be fully funded.

Equipment maintenance

Equipment must be purchased from reputable manufacturers and sales representatives that comply with all safety standards.  Products must be certified by IPEMA, ASTM and comply with CPSC standards.  Service from the vendor and their representatives must be prompt and timely.  Replacement parts and materials for on-going maintenance must be readily available.


Inspections of equipment and all fall attenuating surfaces are completed bi-annually by a certified playground safety inspector.  Inspectors are certified through the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).  The inspections ensure equipment is in good repair, loose-filled surfacing is adequate, and identify any maintenance issues.



SES_SafePlayAreas The District’s Playground Safety Program was featured as a “Success Story” on page 63 of this book on S.A.F.E. Play Areas.

Playground Safety Resources