Tempt Family Holidaymakers With High-Quality Play Areas

API Play association

Looking to attract more families? A well-designed play area featuring high-quality equipment will deliver great value for years to come.

API Play AssociationPlay areas are designed for parks of all shapes and sizes with budgets to match. So whether you’re looking to create a brand new play area from scratch, update an existing play area or replace play equipment that has reached the end of its natural life, the Association of Play Industries (API) is here to help. API members are the UK‘s leading manufacturers, installers, designers and distributors of outdoor and indoor play equipment and safety surfacing. They operate to the highest standards, abide by a strict Professional Code of Conduct, and are credit-checked and monitored regularly for financial stability and security.

Wherever you see the API ‘current member’ badge, you can expect expert advice, high-quality play equipment and high standards, based on many years’ experience working with holiday and caravan park operators across the UK. API member companies work closely with clients to provide recommendations on design, equipment, materials and safety surfacing that meet a brief and budget, and will explain inspection, maintenance and repair, which is essential for any play area.



According to the API, key considerations to bear in mind when planning a play area are:

  • 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 an API member will factor this into the design.
  • Surfacing: safety surfacing absorbs impact, protecting children against critical head injury if they fall while playing. API members advise on the best surfacing options.
  • 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.
  • 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: risk assessments needn’t restrict children’s enjoyment so consider installing equipment that provides a real sense of adventure.. Children enjoy a degree of risk when playing and actively benefit from it, so provide some challenging play equipment for added excitement and fun.

Before opening any new play area to the public, the API recommends that a Post-Installation Inspection takes place. This is undertaken by a registered, certificated Register of Play Inspectors International (RPII) inspector and is commissioned by the play company or park operator.

Once this Inspection is completed and satisfactory, responsibility for safety passes to the park operator to put in place an 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.

A well-designed, well-maintained, fun play area with top quality equipment will ensure that families return to your holiday or caravan park time after time. So for peace of mind, choose a respected, trustworthy API member company.

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

Tel: 024 7641 4999

ext. 208




January 7, 2015


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