Playground equipment accessible for all children

This Technical Report covers open access, unsupervised play spaces. It does not cover adventure playgrounds or other play spaces which are used under supervision. The intention of this document is to enable users, to a large extent, to access play spaces and use the equipment independent of the help of others. This Technical Report is intended to be used in conjunction with EN 1176 and provides guidance to those involved in the specification, provision and management of play environments. It is intended to help create spaces that will promote opportunities for children of differing abilities to have the opportunity to participate in unsupervised play, and with appropriate levels of challenge and risk. The scope of EN 1176 (all parts) covers only the safety requirements for play equipment and play surfaces. When developing this Technical Report, however, it was realised that the scope for "play for all" needed to consider a wider context, covering not just the immediate play space but also provide information about the broader environment and other access and facility issues.

Barrierefreie Kinderspielplatzgeräte

Jeux pour tous

Le présent Rapport technique couvre les espaces de jeux non surveillés, en libre accès. Il ne traite pas des terrains d’aventures ou autres espaces de jeux utilisés sous surveillance. Ce document a pour objectif de permettre aux utilisateurs, dans une large mesure, d’accéder aux espaces de jeux et d’utiliser les équipements sans l’aide des autres.
Le présent Rapport technique est destiné à être utilisé conjointement avec l’EN 1176 et donne des lignes directrices aux personnes chargées de la spécification, la fourniture et la gestion des environnements de jeux. Il vise à aider à créer des espaces qui augmenteront les opportunités offertes aux enfants ayant différentes aptitudes à participer à des jeux non surveillés, avec des niveaux de difficulté et un risque appropriés.
Le domaine d’application de l’EN 1176 (toutes les parties) ne couvre que les exigences de sécurité relatives aux équipements et aux surfaces de jeu. Lors de l’élaboration du présent Rapport technique, il a toutefois été admis que le domaine d’application du « jeu pour tous » devait être pris dans un contexte plus étendu, ne couvrant pas simplement l’espace de jeu immédiat mais fournissant également des informations sur l’environnement plus large et d’autres problèmes d’accès et d’installation.

Oprema otroških igrišč, dostopna vsem otrokom

To tehnično poročilo zajema nenadzorovana igrišča s prostim dostopom. Ne zajema pustolovskih igrišč ali drugih igrišč, ki se uporabljajo pod nadzorom. Namen tega dokumenta je uporabnikom v širokem obsegu omogočiti dostop do igrišč in samostojno uporabo opreme brez pomoči drugih. To tehnično poročilo je namenjeno za uporabo skupaj s standardom EN 1176 ter zagotavlja smernice za ljudi, ki sodelujejo pri pripravi specifikacij, zagotavljanju storitev in upravljanju igrišč. Njegov namen je prispevati k ustvarjanju prostorov, ki bodo spodbujali priložnosti, da se otroci z različnimi sposobnostmi vključijo v nenadzorovano igro z ustreznimi ravnmi izzivov in tveganj. Področje uporabe standarda EN 1176 (vsi deli) zajema le varnostne zahteve za igralno opremo in igralne površine. Vendar se je pri razvijanju tega tehničnega poročila pokazalo, da je treba na področje uporabe pojma »igra za vse« vključiti širši kontekst, ki ne bi zajemal le neposrednega igralnega prostora, ampak bi tudi zagotovil informacije o širšem okolju ter drugih vprašanjih v zvezi z dostopom in prostorom.

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SIST-TP CEN/TR 16467:2013
Playground equipment accessible for all children
Barrierefreie Kinderspielplatzgeräte
Jeux pour tous
Ta slovenski standard je istoveten z: CEN/TR 16467:2013
97.200.40 ,JULãþD Playgrounds
SIST-TP CEN/TR 16467:2013 en

2003-01.Slovenski inštitut za standardizacijo. Razmnoževanje celote ali delov tega standarda ni dovoljeno.

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CEN/TR 16467
March 2013
ICS 97.200.40
English Version
Playground equipment accessible for all children

Équipements d'aires de jeux accessibles à tous les enfants Barrierefreie Kinderspielplatzgeräte

This Technical Report was approved by CEN on 3 December 2012. It has been drawn up by the Technical Committee CEN/TC 136.

CEN members are the national standards bodies of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,

Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania,

Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United

Management Centre: Avenue Marnix 17, B-1000 Brussels

© 2013 CEN All rights of exploitation in any form and by any means reserved Ref. No. CEN/TR 16467:2013: E

worldwide for CEN national Members.
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Contents Page

Foreword ..............................................................................................................................................................3

0 Introduction ............................................................................................................................................4

1 Scope ......................................................................................................................................................7

2 Terms and definitions ...........................................................................................................................7

3 Prevalence and categorising of disability ...........................................................................................8

4 Challenge and risk .................................................................................................................................8

5 Aims of Play for All ................................................................................................................................9

6 Play area design / layout .................................................................................................................... 10

7 Equipment and types of play ............................................................................................................. 12

Annex A (informative) Prevalence and categorising of disability, additional information ....................... 17

Bibliography ..................................................................................................................................................... 19

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This document (CEN/TR 16467:2013) has been prepared by Technical Committee CEN/TC 136 “Sports,

playground and other recreational facilities and equipment”, the secretariat of which is held by DIN.

Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject of patent

rights. CEN [and/or CENELEC] shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights.

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0 Introduction
0.1 General

CEN/TC 136/SC 1 decided in September 2007 to develop a document to support the following statement

taken from the introduction of EN 1176-1.

It is also recognised that there is an increasing need for play provision to be accessible to users with


Germany made the proposal for a European document, as they had developed a national standard

DIN 33942.
This CEN Technical Report is intended to provide guidance only.
0.2 The rights of all children

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human

Rights) declares: "States Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural

and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic,

recreational and leisure activity". Article 31 recognises the rights of the child to engage in play, and Article 2

states that there should be no discrimination of children irrespective of disability.

Since the introduction of EN 1176 it has been recognised that further guidance should be given on how to

provide play spaces that are more accessible for children with disabilities, and encourage children of all

abilities to play together. This guidance document aims to do that.

This guidance document will not mean that every play facility will be suitable for every child; the play provider

may have many constraints such as a restricted budget or space limitations. However, it is hoped that, by

adopting the information provided, all play spaces in some way can become more inclusive.

The document focuses on unsupervised play provision whilst recognising that carers bringing users to the

facility will need to make judgements on the appropriateness of the items.

It also recognises that the person bringing the user to the facility may/could have impairments and without the

ability to access the playground the non-disabled child may/could be denied the play opportunities provided.

There is a moral and legal duty upon us all to ensure that, whatever their ability, each child has a chance to

reach their full potential. This will not come from focusing on the lowest common denominator of ability, but by

offering each and every child a level of challenge that they can learn to manage and thus develop their skills

and move on to further challenges.

It is recognised that there will always be conflict between the needs of children with different abilities and

therefore we need to try to manage this conflict. The priority needs to be inclusion, and the encouragement of

all children to come together through play in good quality play environments.

The alternative is exclusion – not only is this incorrect and undesirable but, as stated in "Able to Play" (Kellog

Foundation, USA): "This exclusion affects children with disabilities, their siblings, and their families. Further, it

affects all other children as they assign status to one another during play – those who contribute during play

are expected to be contributors throughout life. This perception is established during childhood and is very

difficult to alter as a youth or adult. The consequences of some children being excluded from public

playgrounds has the effect of excluding them from the work of children, which sets the stage for how we

interact as adults in society."
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0.3 Play for all

The term "Play for All" is used to emphasise that this document is not about how to create play spaces and

play equipment just for disabled children, it is intended to give guidance on how to make play spaces and play

equipment accessible to children of all abilities. It asserts moreover that all children are different, and a good

play space is one that will offer play opportunities and challenges for both disabled and non-disabled children.

Play for all is play for all children and not just play for specific groups of children with or without specific

disabilities. Disabled children also need to be able to play in unsupervised but safe settings alongside their

siblings and friends. To achieve this, disabled children need to be fully integrated into society and it is

particularly important to create opportunities for this integration within unstructured and unsupervised play

environments. Disabled children should be welcomed and encouraged to use play facilities jointly with other

children. As such it is important that play areas are not "dumbed down" and that challenging opportunities for

very able children are still provided. The need to provide challenging environments for disabled children is just

as important if not more so, as quite often the rest of their lives is spent in very closeted environments.

This Technical Report is not intended to be design restrictive and aims to follow the Design For All principles.

"Design for All is design for human diversity, social inclusion and equality. This holistic and innovative

approach constitutes a creative and ethical challenge for all planners, designers, entrepreneurs,

administrators and political leaders.

Design for All aims to enable all people to have equal opportunities to participate in every aspect of

society. To achieve this, the built environment, everyday objects, services, culture and information – in

short, everything that is designed and made by people to be used by people – needs to be accessible,

convenient for everyone in society to use and responsive to evolving human diversity.

The practice of Design for All makes conscious use of the analysis of human needs and aspirations and

requires the involvement of end users at every stage in the design process" (source: EIDD Stockholm

Declaration©, 2004).

This document is not about universal access to all play equipment but more about creating places where

children of all abilities can play together. If we look to "Developing Accessible Play Space – A good practice

guide" (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, UK Government) we will read: "All children do not need to access

play spaces in the same way but they are all fundamentally entitled to go out to play. Good design of public

play spaces is needed in order to make this possible. Each child is different – not every piece of equipment in

a play space needs to be accessible to every child but access to the social experience of play is key".

This Technical Report does not focus on "impairment specific" issues but hopes to help identify obstacles to

play for any child who might wish to access the play space and think about ways to circumvent them. It is also

intended to highlight any conflicts between the accessibility issue and the actual requirements of EN 1176.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that disabled children have the right to be included in

their local community and to do the kinds of things that non-disabled children do. Developing accessible play

space is about enabling all children to be with and learn from each other. Moreover, enabling disabled children

to access play spaces helps them and their families build relationships and neighbourhood networks that can

bind communities and promote social inclusion. This is vital as disabled children do not want to be on their

own playing by themselves on equipment labelled "disabled equipment"; they want to be out there with their

non-disabled peers and brothers and sisters. As one non-disabled boy said “I want to be able to play with my

brother. It makes me feel sad when I can play on things, say climbing up and he can’t. I like it when he can

climb as well, maybe not so high but we are on the same things in the same playground and we can play

together.” Steven, 12-year-old brother of Martin (see [1]).
0.4 Cost

Finance for providing accessible play can be an issue, often used as an excuse for not providing better play

for all. Any increase in cost as a result of providing more inclusive play areas will be significantly reduced if the

needs of all children are recognised from the initial design stage.
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The sections in the document cover:

— The prevalence and categorising of disability – This section covers the complexity of impairments and the

importance of not focusing on specific groups such as wheelchair users, when developing open access

play spaces. Additional information on this subject can be found in Annex A.

— Challenge and Risk – Providing information on the importance of challenge for all children. Having

impairment should not prevent children from reaching their full potential through risk taking, and the

importance of incorporating this into play spaces.

— The aims of play for all – Overall aims and considerations for good inclusive play spaces.

— Play area design and layout – Guidance on making play spaces more accessible for all.

— Equipment and types of play – Covering equipment choice and general information about encouraging

multi use and integration.

Many documents were referenced in the production of this guidance document. These could provide useful

additional information for play providers, so they are listed in the bibliography.

Tolerable risk is determined by the search for an optimal balance between the ideal of absolute safety and the

demands to be met by a product, process or service, and factors such as benefit to the user, suitability for

purpose, cost effectiveness, and conventions of the society concerned. It follows that there is a need to review

continually the tolerable level, in particular when developments, both in technology and in knowledge, can

lead to economically feasible improvements to attain the minimum risk compatible with the use of a product,

process or service.
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1 Scope

This Technical Report covers open access, unsupervised play spaces. It does not cover adventure

playgrounds or other play spaces which are used under supervision. The intention of this document is to

enable users, to a large extent, to access play spaces and use the equipment independent of the help of


This Technical Report is intended to be used in conjunction with EN 1176 and provides guidance to those

involved in the specification, provision and management of play environments. It is intended to help create

spaces that will promote opportunities for children of differing abilities to have the opportunity to participate in

unsupervised play, and with appropriate levels of challenge and risk.

The scope of EN 1176 (all parts) covers only the safety requirements for play equipment and play surfaces.

When developing this Technical Report, however, it was realised that the scope for "play for all" needed to

consider a wider context, covering not just the immediate play space but also provide information about the

broader environment and other access and facility issues.
2 Terms and definitions
For the purposes of this document, the following terms and definitions apply.
play for all
play for children regardless of their physical or mental capabilities

Note 1 to entry: There are other reasons why children can be excluded from play, (such as cultural and social

differences), which are not covered in this guidance document.
unsupervised play areas
play areas that have no supervision provided by the play provider or operator

Note 1 to entry: Children are sometimes accompanied to play areas by a carer or helper, and this is more often the

case for disabled children. The carer or assistant is often referred to in this document but is distinct from any supervision

provided by the play provider or operator, as defined here.

play equipment and spaces that can be used and accessed by a wide range of users with different abilities

Note 1 to entry: BS 7000-6 defines inclusive design as "design of mainstream products and/or services that are

accessible to, and usable by, people with the widest range of abilities within the widest range of situations without the

need for special adaptation or design." [6]

person who exercises responsibility, however temporarily, for an individual child’s safety

Note 1 to entry: This could be either:

a) non-qualified carer: a parent, grandparent, older sibling who has been given a limited

responsibility over a child, adult acquaintance, a young person who is a baby sitter, or

b) qualified carer: a person trained to exercise responsibility for the safety of children or young

people, for example a trained/qualified teacher, childminder, youth leader or sports coach.

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3 Prevalence and categorising of disability

Disability can be defined in many different ways but what is really important is how the design of products,

services and facilities can exclude those people who have functional limitations or impairments by failing to

take their requirements into account. It is important to bear in mind that such limitations or impairments are not

confined to a small proportion of the population since many people will experience some minor functional

limitation in their lives, either temporary or permanent. At the other end of the spectrum there are individuals

whose disability is very profound or complex but such individuals are rare and society does not need to design

everything for wheelchair users who represent a very small minority of the disabled population. There are also

those who have sensory disabilities and cannot hear or see well, although again few of them will be totally

without vision or hearing, and people with learning disabilities who could have little or no physical limitations

but have difficulty understanding. This is the population who use playgrounds and whose needs have to be


It is often stated that when someone loses their sight, or for that matter any of their other senses, their other

senses become more sensitive. This is not true. In actuality, when a person is deprived of a sense, he or she

will learn to use their remaining faculties more efficiently. In other words other senses do not become stronger;

people just learn to obtain information through them that you would have obtained through the lost sense.

However, this does not mean that providing alternative ways of imparting information or of interacting with

things is not important; it is actually even more important as the child with impaired hearing or vision does not

have heightened compensatory senses, they simply use what they have left and need all the help that can be


Estimates are difficult to obtain but in Europe approximately 5 % of children are considered to be disabled. Of

these children only about 10 % are wheelchair users and some of these children might well be able to walk

short distances using other mobility aids such as sticks and frames. The concept, therefore, that accessible

facilities are those specifically for wheelchairs users to use is incorrect, and concentrating on this small

minority of wheelchair users could have the effect of reducing the play value of the playground to such an

extent that children have no wish to use it. This could be either because it lacks challenge or is seen as a

playground just for disabled children, who have no wish to be labelled in this way.

Enabling disabled children to access play spaces helps them and their families build relationships and

neighbourhood networks that can bind communities and promote social inclusion.

By taking a person-centred approach, this document provides guidance for the design of play facilities that are

as accessible and usable as possible by the largest number of children and adults. Their aims is to provide

equality of opportunity for all and it attempts to look not at impairments but rather at what children are able to

do and how they can be challenged. It also recognises the fact that some of the adults who accompany

children to a playground could be disabled or elderly and therefore require accessible facilities to ensure that

they and the children they care for can have access.
For further information on prevalence and categorising see Annex A.
4 Challenge and risk

Providing challenge for all children, including those with impairments, is important in good play environments.

When developing an open access play space, the widest possible range of abilities need to be considered, as

it is vital to retain different levels of challenge for all, the able and the less able, whether it depends on age,

physical or mental conditions.

EN 1176 is a hazard approach standard, where requirements have been set to achieve tolerable injury risk,

taking into account the value and the need of play for child development.

During play, children are often driven by the challenge to do things that take them to their limits, which in turn,

lead to a better knowledge of themselves through experience. This challenge often corresponds to a sense of

risk as there are chances for success or failure, even when the probability of an injury is minimal.

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Trying new things, testing new skills by surpassing obstacles, is always perceived as a risk by the child, even

though not necessarily as a risk of injury. The challenge is to succeed in a specific task even if it needs

several attempts and going a little bit further each time. This is a way to develop one’s full potential by

exploring new skills (self-confidence, strength, balance, autonomy).

The big challenge for adults / designers / playground planners / providers is to find the right balance between

the tolerable / acceptable and necessary residual injury risk in all playgrounds and the different levels of

challenge required by a diversity of abilities. It is the adults responsibility to ensure all children have

opportunities to experience different levels of challenge with the minimum likelihood of sustaining an injury, in

a risk controlled / managed play environment, whilst always aware of the expectation that minor injuries will

occur, particularly in the rough and boisterous activities that form part of active play.

Disabled children are in greater need of challenging opportunities, without being exposed to a greater or

unacceptable risk of suffering a serious injury. Some types of challenge (such as climbing and heights – the

ability to take your body higher) cannot be achieved without the risk of an accident such as a fall. It is part of

the trial process that the child needs to go through to find out their own abilities and to develop further skills for

self-confidence and autonomy.

The need to provide challenge for all and at the same time, an acceptable level of safety, means that not all

play equipment can be accessible for all children.

The nature of the challenge can be different depending on the type of impairment / disability. Often, the desire

to over protect disabled children from risk is not necessary or even beneficial.

When there is a necessary risk, in order to reduce exposure to the hazard for disabled children, it is important

to increase / enhance factors or elements that can facilitate "good" risk perception and "good" or appropriate

decision-making; any risk should allow for free choice and self-determination when deciding to take a certain

risk or deal with a certain challenge.
5 Aims of Play for All

There is much more to a good play space than just play equipment; a good play space is a well-designed

environment with an atmosphere that welcomes all children. Landscaping, planting, and creating intimate

spaces as well as spaces for running around are just as important as the play equipment. A good play area

will create an overall environment conducive to quality play for children of all abilities.

It is better for the child to be at the playground than not at all. If the play space is accessible and welcoming

and all children can be in the same space together, this is better than not having access to the space even if

much of the play equipment is not accessible for some.

It is also important to bear in mind that the child’s carer may/could be disabled and experience difficulties

accessing the play space. This will also restrict access for the child if their carer cannot support them in the

use of equipment.

A truly accessible playground will have a range of equipment that can accommodate a range of abilities, since

it is not possible to know the range of impairments or numbers of children who will want to use the equipment

now and in the future. Not all equipment will be used in the same way by children with different abilities but the

important thing is that they can access a variety of items. A good, accessible playground will attract children of

all abilities from a wide area.

The exception to this is playgrounds associated with or within specialist facilities catering for children with

specific disabilities. Such facilities may/can have specialist equipment aimed at a specific impairments but will

also have assistants and supervisors who are able to help the children to access and use the play items.

All children need to be able to make choices about what items of play equipment to use, even if their choices

result in failure to achieve their goals, good quality play is self-directed. Only in this way will they be

challenged and develop their skills. Children also vary a great deal in their abilities and it is impossible to

categorise them. Many disabled children have multiple impairments and so designing play items that are

accessible to all can be very challenging and certainly there is no "one size fits all" solution.

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6 Play area design / layout

In order to play on equipment, the disabled child has to be able to access it. Without easy access it does not

matter how suitable or exciting the item is, it is of no use to them. This means that paths and access ways

need to be provided for all children.

The following are requirements to reach the play area, enter it, and approach the main items:

A level access from the nearest public access path to and into the play area is advantageous, not only for

wheelchair users but also pushchairs, other mobility aids, the sight impaired, or anyone who has difficulty

walking, and are unsteady on their feet.

Any entrances, gates and access routes/paths need to be wide enough to accommodate those using mobility

aids, the widest of which are motorised buggies, where a clear opening of at least 1,2 m is advisable.

Access routes/paths need to be of materials and construction that can be used throughout the year. Grass, for

example, can be unsuitable because winter rainfall can turn it into a muddy, inaccessible route. Choice of

construction and materials for the paths should consider intensity of use, climate, ground profile and ground

soil/conditions, etc.

Design of the path should also consider the ability of users to use the access route using sticks, crutches,

pushchairs/buggies, mobility frames or motorised wheelchairs. Access routes/path constructions should relate

to local need and materials. Over specifying of these constructions could result in too large a proportion of the

budget being spent on access routes rather than play equipment.

Surfaces should be selected carefully and can be used to both aid and restrict access to an item. If the item is

to be accessible to all then a suitable surface should extend right up to the access point of each item of

equipment although the surface might have to be changed to comply with any impact absorbing surfacing

requirements across the play equipment’s impact area. Without such access for the child, or their carer, the

child cannot even attempt to use it.

Impact absorbing surfacing often uses loose or easily dispersible materials such as timber chippings or sand

and where these are used rather than synthetic surfacing, consideration should be given to ensure suitable

access arrangements. Where loose material is retained in a raised pit, access will be restricted for some

users. Providing the containment structure with a slope will aid access and prevent potential trip hazards and

falls onto an obstacle for all. Alternative, more stable surfaces can be used to create a path to permit access

through loose fill surfaces that are not stable.

Loose fill safety surfacing such as bark, sand, and also turf have added play value in their own right and

should not be discounted because they can make access difficult for some users. This can be overcome by

good design or by providing other play opportunities, which in turn will represent a wider diversity of stimulus

for all.

A further issue to address is that of items of mobility equipment such as wheelchairs, crutches and sticks

being left in the falling space around equipment. Impact absorbing surfaces will obviously be compromised if

hard objects are left in the way. Careful design of access routes can prevent this from happening, for example

by the use of sand in the fall area which will be difficult for wheelchairs to cross and therefore will minimise the

chances of them being left their by their occupants.
Providing facil

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