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Arizona Child Care Facilities / Day Care Centers – What Standards Apply as to Playgrounds / Outdoor Play Areas?

By Sara J. Powell, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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Arizona child care facilities / day care centers must comply with regulations and procedures set forth in the Arizona Administrative Code (AAC) Title 9 Health Services – Chapter 5 – Department of Health Services – Child Care Facilities. Pursuant to Section R9-5-604 – AAC – Outdoor Activity Areas, a child care facility / day care center has a duty to provide a playground or outdoor activity area for children enrolled in the day care program. A day care operator should not place the outdoor play activity in an area that requires children to cross a parking lot or street unless the operator obtains written approval from the Department. In addition, operators have a duty to enclose the outdoor play area / playground with a fence that is a minimum of 4 feet high and secured to the ground. A proper fence will help prevent children from wandering out of the secured play area. The playground area shall be maintained in a manner that protects the health, safety, and welfare of the children. Many personal injuries result from improper or inadequate ground services. As such, Arizona law requires that a child care facility have a shock absorbing rubber material or, in the alternative, 6 inches of of a nonhazardous material like loose sand or wood chips under swing sets and other play equipment. These materials help cushion falls and, thereby, help prevent personal injuries to children playing in the playground area.

Even if the playground is in compliance of the applicable code provisions, supervision is still vital to prevent injuries that occur on playgrounds. Children often lack good judgment when climbing and playing with others. As such, dutiful adult supervision is necessary to guide the children and prevent them from getting hurt.

If you believe that your child has been abused or neglected in a day care center / child care facility, call an Arizona child injury lawyer for consultation as to your child’s rights under Arizona law and actions that can be taken against the facility that violates your child’s rights.