Ten Tips For Playground Fencing Design

  1. RoSPA approved fencing
  2. Anti-trap fence design
  3. Use colourful gates
  4. Multiple access points
  5. Minimise repairs and replacements
  6. Inclusive design
  7. Premium finishes
  8. Vandal proof fencing
  9. Safety latches
  10. Safe playground fence design

According to RoSPA, there are an estimated 40,000 injuries to children on playgrounds each year which result in a hospital visit. Some key causes are: poor playground design and layout, incorrect installation, poor inspection, and poor maintenance.

Good playground fencing design should seek to serve three main purposes: to contain children within a safe area, keep dogs out of the playground, and give children a sense that it is their area. 

1. Make sure the fencing is RoSPA approved

RoSPA recommends that playground fencing design should conform to BS EN 1722 (relating to fencing) and 1176 (playground equipment standard). Playground standards are not currently a legal requirement but represent good practice in the event of an accident claim. Like other standards, they should be used intelligently and inform decision making.

2. Make sure there are no trap hazards within the playground fencing design

Pale spacing should be a maximum gap of 100mm to avoid limbs and heads getting stuck between pales. Anti-Trap Bow Top fencing also has widely spaced hoops at the top to reduce the risk of children getting trapped in the top of the fence.

Playground fencing design

3. Make gates a different colour to the rest of the fencing

Gates that are powder coated a different colour are a clear indication to children where they can exit from, or where parents and guardians can enter. This is also beneficial for quick access in the event of an emergency.

Safe playground fencing design

4. Include multiple gates in the playground fencing design

Having more than one gate improves the flow of pedestrian traffic into and around the playground, providing other entrances/exits should one become blocked for any reason. Double leaf gates are also recommended to provide emergency and maintenance access (usually these will be the same colour as the rest of the fence as not used by visitors).

5. Invest in good quality fencing at the outset to minimise necessity for frequent repairs and maintenance

RoSPA recommends that 'good quality fencing' is provided where required. This doesn't only reduce the lifetime cost of the fence but reduces the risk of children harming themselves on a fence or gate than needs repairing. A 25 year guarantee on fencing and gates is a good indication of quality.

6. Create an inclusive playground fencing design

Playground equipment, fencing and gates can all be designed to make sure everyone is welcome, no matter their ability. Gates should have self closing timers set to at least 5 seconds to allow safe access to all at a comfortable pace.

Mote Park playground was approved by PiPA (Plan Inclusive Play Areas) for being ahead with inclusivity, making it the only playground in Kent to be awarded this standard.

7. Choose premium finishes

A good playground fencing design involves high quality, glossy, bright colours to create a fun and welcoming environment. Architectural grade polyester powder coating is recommended over painting, as it will not crack or chip. Similarly, planed timber that has been treated reduces the risk of splinters, knots and rot which can create a finger trap hazard. A premium timber with substantial components will also help as it will stop the components snapping and removes the chance of knots and finger traps developing completely. Timber will also blend in well with a countryside or rural setting.

Safe playground fencing

8. Choose a fencing design that is difficult to vandalise

Stop pales being removed

Pales being ripped from rails is the most common type of vandalism with timber fences. With metal fences, bolts are removed to free the pales. Pales that are sleeved into rails and welded provide a more secure, robust fence. Our metal Anti-Trap Bow Top fencing has the pales welded through the rails, and our Playtime® Timber fencing has the pales sandwiched between rails and uses premium stainless steel tamper-proof screws that stop pales being removed and leaving an unsafe playground fence. 

Stop panels from being removed from the posts

This is a common problem with metal playground fences, often, older children congregate around playgrounds and to entertain themselves, remove the bolts that hold the panels to the posts. Our Anti-Trap Bow Top fencing has a hidden panel-to-post connection system. This makes the connector impossible to tamper with and no bolts or screws are visible from the outside of the fence. Our Timber Playtime fencing has a unique panel-to-post fixing system with tamper-proof screws.

Problems with fence fixings

Fixings are a common vulnerability, so the best option as mentioned above is to opt for a design that has no visible fixings. If they are visible, make sure they are tamper proof and not just standard screws or nails. Fixings should also be stainless steel as standard and avoid the use of nails. Standard fixings will be prone to rust. Over time, nothing is more dangerous in a playground setting than rusty nails that are exposed through wear and tear or vandalism.

Playground fencing and gates

9. Install safe latches on gates

Magnetic latches are designed for adult use only, preventing children escaping from the safe area or being injured by a gate latch but still perform an essential role.

Magnetic Latch on Gate

10. Choose a safe playground fencing design

Fencing should be free from pointed or protruding pales, and fencing should be well clear of any play equipment in case a of a child falling. Capping should be added to tubular posts to avoid trap points and sharp edges.


For more advice on playground fencing, read our related blogs:

5 playground fencing mistakes

playground fencing regulations

why to invest in playground fencing

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