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A Summary of Accessibility Guidelines for Play Areas

January 2007

The products shown in this guide are only intended to serve as examples to illustrate the accessibility guidelines, and are not intended as endorsements of the products. Other products may be available. The Access Board does not evaluate or certify products for compliance with the accessibility guidelines. Users are advised to obtain and review product specifications for compliance with the accessibility guidelines.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a comprehensive civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. The ADA requires that newly constructed and altered state and local government facilities, places of public accommodation, and commercial facilities be readily accessible to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities. Recreational facilities, including play areas, are among the facilities required to comply with the ADA.

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board - often referred to as the "Access Board" - has developed accessibility guidelines for newly constructed and altered play areas. The play area guidelines are a supplement to the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). Once these guidelines are adopted as enforceable standards by the Department of Justice, all newly constructed and altered play areas covered by the ADA will be required to comply. These guidelines also apply to play areas covered by the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA).

This guide is designed to assist in using the play area accessibility guidelines and is divided into the following sections:

SummaryDefined TermsWhere Do the Play Area Guidelines Apply?What is a Play Component?How Many Play Components Must Be on an Accessible Route?What Are the Requirements for Accessible Routes?What Other Accessibility Requirements Apply to Play Components?Soft Contained Play Structures

Further Information
Technical assistance on the play area accessibility guidelines is available from the U.S. Access Board at 800-872-2253, 800-993-2822 (TTY), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

The Access Board would like to thank the following manufacturers for their generous assistance: Bob Leathers, Columbia Cascade, GameTime, KOMPAN, Landscape Structures, Little Tikes, Miracle, Olympic Recreation, Playworld Systems, and Recreation Creations.   This manual was developed in part through a contract with KOMPAN, Inc., 50 Commercial Drive, Johnson City, New York 13790.