Just how safe are the “Tot-Lots” in Wildomar’s 3 parks. This question asked at the most recent Measure Z Oversight Committee meeting when one of the committee members asked how often the Tot-Lots were leveled to maintain a safe thickness of fill material around the apparatus in the lots. (The answer was a shrug of the shoulders).
This could answer the question of why the Tot-Lots have not been inspected using PARSAC grant money as promised before the parks re-opened in April.
Doing a little research brings one to an interesting Handbook adopted by statute in the State of California when the legislature amended Health & Safety Code 115730 to create new standards for public playground improvements. Section 115730 applies to all public playgrounds
ALL PUBLIC PLAYGROUNDS MUST CONFORM TO THESE STANDARDS.
Following the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Handbook for Public Playground Safety guidelines Publication #325 they are not.
The required fill depth for Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF) is 12 inches for new material which can be allowed to compact to 9 inches.
When the Tot-Lot equipment was originally installed at the 3 parks, the equipment was marked with an appropriate filler material height as signified by decal affixed to each green post. An inspection of the 3 parks shows a serious lack of fill material which results in a lessened impact attenuation.
There are a total of 9 guidelines recommended by this Handbook
2. Loose-fill surfacing requires frequent maintenance to ensure surfacing levels never drop below the minimum depth. Areas under swings and at slide exits are more susceptible to displacement; special attention must be paid to maintenance in these areas. Additionally, wear mats can be installed in these areas to reduce displacement.
3. The perimeter of the playground should provide a method of containing the loose-fill materials. (This is accomplished by the concrete walkways that surround the Tot-Lots)
4. Consider marking equipment supports with a minimum fill level to aid in maintaining the original depth of material.
I can hear you now, who goes to that park?
(These marking are present on the equipment currently in the Tot-Lots) (Not a single park has one marker that is reached by fill material.)
5. Good drainage is essential to maintaining loose-fill surfacing. Standing water with surfacing material reduces effectiveness and leads to material compaction and decomposition. (This has occurred in the Tot Lots, digging down to the Fabric layer between the fill material and the drainage field one finds decomposed wood material complete with earthworms approximately 1 ½ inches thick. The City of Wildomar staff and the current employee are unaware if a drainage system exist in the Tot Lots as none are shown on the drawings on file with the city according to them.)
More Dangers are present.
One can find the Handbook referenced at