Playground Safety Information

Adopted by the State of California effective January 1, 2000 and revised by Assembly Bill (AB) 1144 – Harman (copy of the chaptered Legislation) on August 22, 2006 effective on January 1, 2008. See AB 1144 for details about the revisions. The Playground Safety Regulations have not been changed to reflect the requirements of AB 1144 but the changes have been made to the Health and Safety Code Section 115725.  See the link under Related Legislation

When must your playground be inspected?

  • Playgrounds installed before December 31, 1993 must be inspected by a Certified Playground Safety Inspector before October 1, 2000 and must be modified to comply with the California Playground safety Regulations before January 1, 2003. See Enabling Legislation.
  • Playgrounds installed between January 1, 1994, and December 31, 1999, are exempt from full compliance with the California Playground Safety Regulations until 15 years after the date of installation but must be modified before January 1, 2003 to be at least as protective as the guidelines in the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Handbook for Public Playground Safety, Publication 325-12.  See Enabling Legislation.  For example: 15 years from January 1, 1994 is January 1, 2009 so the exemption deadline for equipment installed in 1999 is January 1, 2014.
  • Existing Play areas are not required to be re-certified because of AB 1144 unless modifications have been made since the original certification.
  • Playgrounds built or modified after January 1, 2008 must be inspected by a Certified Playground Safety Inspector.  Read AB 1144 for details.

What playgrounds are required to be inspected?

  • Playground open to the public are required to be inspected.  Playground open to the public includes but is not limited to, a church, subdivision, hotel, motel, resort, camp, office, hospital, shopping center, day care setting, and restaurant.
  • Playgrounds in child care centers regulated by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) pursuant to Title 22 of Division 12 of Chapter 1 of the California Code of Regulations and facilities operated for the developmentally disabled are required to comply.

What playgrounds are not required to be inspected?

  • Playgrounds in a foster family home, certified family home, small family home, group home, or family day care home, which is licensed and regulated to meet child safety requirements enforced by the State Department of Social Services, are not required to be inspected.
  • Residential playgrounds are not required to be inspected.  Residential play equipment is covered by a separate ASTM Specification (F 1148) and CPSC Outdoor Home Playground Safety Handbook (Publication #324).

What should you know about being the owner/operator of a public Playground?

Fact Sheet for owner/operators

Playground Inspection Worksheets

The California Recreation and Parks Society requested that I allow their members to use the forms so I have decided to make paper copies available free to anyone else who wishes to use them. The Worksheets are also available at the California Parks and Recreation Society web page and in the fifth Edition of PLAYGROUND SAFETY IS NO ACCIDENT by Kenneth S Kutska. In the past a copy was given to every student who has taken the Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) course. NPSI is no longer including the book in the instructional materials given to students, however they are providing a CD of electronic fill versions of the forms Ken uses in the book. The book contains a lot of valuable information that is not included in the CD so I recommend that you purchase the book directly from Ken.

Electronic Fill Versions of the Worksheets are also available in PDF format for a fee of $15 per age group set.  Click here for a sample of the forms.  For additional information or to place an order, please contact us via e-mail.  The forms can be saved to your computer as a library then used to create print and store reports for your projects.  The basic set includes worksheets for conducting Audits for play areas for children 2 years through 12 years of age (ASTM F 1487). A separate set is available for play areas for children 6 months through 23 months of age (ASTM F 2373).