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API Advisory on Play Equipment on Caravan and Holiday Parks


If you’re looking to attract more families this summer, a well-designed outdoor play area is a great solution.

For advice, look no further than professional trade body the  API (Association of Play Industries) which represents manufacturers, installers, designers and distributors of outdoor and indoor play equipment and safety surfacing.  Its members operate to the highest standards, abide by a strict Professional Code of Conduct and are credit-checked and monitored regularly for financial

Miracle Design and play Play

They install high-quality play equipment using certificated products and you can be sure that wherever you see the API current member badge, you will get expert advice from a reputable company based on many years’ experience.  Your play company consultant will work closely with you and provide recommendations on design, equipment, materials and safety surfacing that meet your brief and budget and will explain inspection, maintenance and repair.

When planning a play area, there are some key considerations to bear in mind:



  • Capacity: the number of children likely to be playing in a play area at any one time is key.  Play equipment standards are based on minimum user numbers rather than a large number of children playing at the same time, so the design of your play area should be based on peak, high-season numbers.  There is no set formula for this but your play company will factor this into the design.
  • Surfacing: safety surfacing absorbs impact so protects children against critical head injury if they fall while playing.  Your play supplier will advise you on the best surfacing options for your site.
  • Location: consider the safety and accessibility of the proposed site for your play area.  Think about how children will get to it and consider any traffic hazards, busy thoroughfares, blind spots, deep or lying water and overhead cables.  Use fencing only if required for safety reasons, for instance, as additional security for a toddler play area.

    Miracle Design and Play Pool Slide

  • Comfort: plan to create a comfortable experience for children and families.  Remember to include seating or picnic facilities, shade and shelter and litter bins.
  • Age-appropriate: make your play area as appealing as possible by providing a range of equipment to attract different age ranges.  Separate toddler play areas from older children’s equipment to minimise the risk of accidents.
  • Risk: children enjoy a degree of risk when playing and actively benefit from it so provide some challenging play equipment for added excitement and fun.  Risk assessments needn’t restrict children’s enjoyment so consider installing equipment that provides a real sense of adventure.

Before opening your new play area, a Post-Installation Inspection should take place.  This is undertaken by a registered and certificated Register of Play Inspectors International (RPII) annual outdoor inspector and is commissioned by the play company or park operator.

Schoolscapes Physical Play

Once this Inspection is complete and satisfactory, responsibility for safety passes to the park operator to put in place a rigorous inspection regime, as set out in BS EN 1176, the standard for play equipment.  According to the RPII, best practice is to adopt a three-tier inspection regime incorporating RPII training for staff which covers:

  1. Routine visual inspection

Observation of the play space by a trained staff member looking for obvious hazards like missing or broken parts, broken glass or vandalism.  This should take place weekly in low season and daily in high season.

  1. Operational inspection

A more detailed structural examination of wear, tear and stability of equipment by a trained staff member. This should take place every three months in low season and once a month in high season.

  1. Annual main inspection

An annual inspection by a qualified external RPII annual outdoor inspector to ensure compliance with standards and overall safety.


Sovereign Kelling Heath

Adding a well-designed, well-maintained, fun play area with top quality equipment will ensure that families return to your site year after year.  By using an API member, you can rest assured that you are working with a reputable play company that you can trust.

For further information about the benefits of using an API member and how the API can help holiday park and campsite operators, contact:



Deborah Holt,

Tel: 024 7641 4999 ext. 208


Twitter: @api-play

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