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You are here: Home Members ANEC - the European consumer voice in standardisation Standards for playground surfaces should better reflect the balance between play and protection against falls

Standards for playground surfaces should better reflect the balance between play and protection against falls

24 October 2013
by anec -- last modified 03 February 2014

Falls from playground equipment were the focus of an international conference hosted yesterday by TÜV AUSTRIA, a third party inspection, testing & certification body, and ANEC, the European consumer voice in standardisation.


Children fall everywhere: most often at home; when cycling, skiing or skating; and when using playground equipment. The European playground standards, EN 1176 and EN 1177 set a balance between the need to offer learning and leisure challenges, and the need to keep children safe from serious injuries. Both standards are now about to be revised.

During the conference, experts presented and discussed critical aspects of safety and new findings from tests for all types of playground surfaces, in front of a high-level international audience comprising representatives from manufacturers, playground operators and inspectors, standards bodies, consumer organisations, test houses and public authorities.

Stephen Russell, ANEC Secretary General, commented: "Play is vital in a child's development. Regrettably, still too many serious injuries are caused by falls in playgrounds. Many could be prevented by the technical measures now available. Hence the performance of playground surfacing must be reconsidered during the revision of the standards".

As Rolf Huber from Canada stressed, "Surfacing is like an airbag in cars - a passive safety system: in the case of an impact from a fall it will absorb part of the energy and reduce the injuries".

Adolf Russold, TÜV AUSTRIA, and convener of CEN TC 136 SC1 WG1, stressed the need for post-installation inspections of the impact attenuation surface, prior to its first use. He said: "A risk benefit analysis, to reach a balance between safety and offering a sufficient level of challenge and stimulation to all groups of users, remains an essential part of the improvements needed in our standards".

ANEC is the European consumer voice in standardisation, defending consumer interests in the processes of technical standardisation and conformity assessment, as well as related legislation and public policies.

ANEC - the European consumer voice in standardisation

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ANEC acts as the voice of the European consumer in the development of European legislation related to consumer products and services, and in the elaboration of European technical standards intended to support the implementation of that legislation.

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