Introduction

This guide is intended to help designers and operators in using the accessibility guidelines for play areas. These guidelines establish minimum accessibility requirements for newly constructed and altered play areas. This guide is not a collection of playground designs. Rather, it provides specifications for elements within a play area to create a general level of usability for children with disabilities. Emphasis is placed on ensuring that children with disabilities are generally able to access the diversity of components provided in a play area. Designers and operators are encouraged to exceed the guidelines where possible to provide increased accessibility and opportunities. Incorporating accessibility into the design of a play area should begin early in the planning process with consideration to layout, circulation paths, and the selection of play components. 

The play area guidelines were developed with significant public input and carefully considered the balancing of costs, safety, and accessibility. The Access Board sponsored a Regulatory Negotiation Committee to develop proposed guidelines. The public was given an opportunity to comment on the proposed guidelines and the Access Board made changes to the proposed guidelines based on the public comments. The Regulatory Negotiation Committee represented the following groups and associations:

  • American Society of Landscape Architects
  • ASTM Public Playground Committee
  • ASTM Soft Contained Play Committee
  • ASTM Playground Surfacing Systems Committee
  • International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association
  • National Association of Counties
  • National Association of Elementary School Principals
  • National Child Care Association
  • National Council on Independent Living
  • National Easter Seal Society
  • National League of Cities
  • National Parent-Teacher Association
  • National Recreation and Park Association
  • Spina Bifida Association of America
  • TASH
  • United Cerebral Palsy Association
  • U.S. Access Board