5101:2-12-14 Outdoor play requirements for licensed child care centers.

(A) The center shall provide outdoor play each day in suitable weather for any toddler, preschool child, and school child in attendance for more than four consecutive daylight hours. Any center or program providing child care after school for more than two hours shall provide an opportunity for outdoor play each day in suitable weather. When weather is not suitable for outdoor play, indoor large muscle activities must be provided.

(B) Child care staff members shall watch for potential hazards while observing children and shall actively supervise to prevent injury. When a group of children is outdoors, the child care staff member responsible for the group shall be able to summon another adult without leaving the group alone or unsupervised.

(C) The center shall have onsite a safe, sanitary outdoor play space free of hazardous conditions which shall meet all of the following requirements:

(1) Provides at least sixty square feet of usable space per child using the area at one time.

(2) Is well defined by a fence that is safe and in good repair or a natural or other barrier. Fencing is not considered outdoor equipment.

(3) If gates are used, they shall be equipped with functional latches which cannot be easily opened by young children. Gates shall not be padlocked when children are present at the center.

(4) Is protected from traffic and animals.

(5) Is maintained free of heating and air conditioner units, generators, foreign objects and rubbish or these items are fenced or made inaccessible to children.

(6) Provides a shaded area as needed.

(7) Provides access to bathroom facilities and drinking water during play times.

(8) Provides for storage of accumulated trash, rubbish and garbage outside of the play area. A trash can with a lid is permitted in the play area if it is emptied daily and kept in a clean condition so as not to attract insects.

(D) A center may be exempt from having an onsite play area if the following requirements are met.

(1) The facility has an indoor recreation area that has a minimum of one thousand four hundred forty square feet of indoor space that is separate from the space required by rule 5101:2-12-13 of the Administrative Code and is regularly available and scheduled for use, and

(2) There is a safe park or play area regularly available, scheduled for daily use in suitable weather and approved by the department. Access to this area shall be safe and convenient, and children shall be closely supervised during play and when going to and from the area.

(E) The play area(s) and equipment shall be inspected at least four times a year on a quarterly basis by the administrator or designee, during months that the program is in operation. The inspection shall be documented on a JFS 01281 "Child Care Playground Inspection Report" (1/2007). If the administrator does not conduct the inspection, the designee who completed the inspection shall review the inspection report and findings with the administrator. The administrator shall sign the JFS 01281. One year of completed inspection reports must be kept on file at the center.

(F) Children shall only use equipment, whether stationary or portable, that is safe and appropriate for their age or development.

(1) Equipment shall meet all of the following requirements.

(a) Be placed out of the path of the area's main traffic patterns.

(b) Be anchored or stable, and have all parts in good working order and securely fastened.

(c) Have all climbing ropes anchored at both ends and not capable of looping back on themselves creating a loop with an interior perimeter of five inches or greater.

(d) Have all "S" hooks closed so that there is no gap greater than .04 inch or the thickness of a dime.

(e) Be free of rust, cracks, holes, splinters, sharp points or edges, chipped or peeling paint, toxic substances, protruding bolts, or tripping hazards.

(f) Have no openings that are greater than three and one half inches, but less than nine inches to avoid entrapment of the head or other body parts. Equipment shall be able to pass inspection using the head probe, torso probe, and protrusion gauge as indicated in appendix B of the consumer product safety commission "Public Playground Safety Handbook" (publication #325. revised April 2008) which can be accessed at:http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/playpubs.html.

(g) Have protective barriers on platforms that are thirty inches or higher off the ground. A protective barrier means an enclosing device around an elevated platform that is intended to prevent both inadvertent and deliberate attempts to pass through the device.

(h) Be assembled and installed according to manufacturers' guidelines.

(2) Trampolines more than four feet in diameter shall not be permitted for use with children in care.

(3) Except during the center's daylight hours of operation, all sandboxes shall be covered with a lid or other covering .

(G) Outdoor play equipment designated for climbing, and swings and slides shall be surrounded by a protective, resilient surface that meets the following requirements:

(1) Fall zones shall have a protective resilient material on the ground under and around the equipment.

(2) The material shall be, but not limited to, washed pea gravel, mulch, sand, wood chips, synthetic material such as rubber mats or tiles manufactured for this purpose. Synthetic surfaces shall follow manufacturers' guidelines for depth.

(3) This equipment shall not be placed over grass, concrete, asphalt, blacktop, dirt, rocks, or any hard surface.

(4) Any loose-fill particulate impact absorbing material under and around play equipment shall be checked at least monthly for packing, and shall be turned over or raked up to increase the resilience capability.

(H) No later than January 1, 2010, the resilient surface material depth in all fall zones under and around equipment designed for or observed being used for climbing, swinging, bouncing or sliding that is over twelve inches in height, shall be appropriate for the height and type of equipment as specified in appendix A to this rule.

(I) No later than January 1, 2010, fall zones for all equipment designed for or observed being used for climbing, swinging, bouncing or sliding shall extend a minimum of six feet in all directions from the perimeter of the equipment. The fall zone for moving or swinging equipment shall extend six feet from the point of furthest extension. The fall zone between two stationary pieces of equipment shall be a minimum of nine feet. Fall zones shall be kept clear of all obstacles that children could run into or fall on top of including retaining devices such as, but not limited to: fencing, walls, landscape timbers and mulch retaining walls.

(J) Centers licensed as of January 1, 2007 or with applications that have been received by the department as of January 1, 2007, that have fall zones meeting the requirements listed in paragraphs (G)(1), (G)(2) and (G)(3) of this rule are exempt from the requirements of paragraph (I) of this rule, unless stationary equipment designed for or observed used for climbing, swinging, bouncing or sliding is added, replaced or relocated. When this type of equipment is added, replaced or relocated the center must comply with the requirements of paragraph (I) of this rule for all pieces of equipment designed or observed used for climbing, swinging, bouncing or sliding on that playground.

(K) A center approved to use an off site area may use the play space regardless of change of ownership unless it is determined, upon inspection, that the area or its accessibility is unsafe.

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Effective: 07/01/2010
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 02/03/2010 and 07/01/2015
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 5104.011
Rule Amplifies: 5104.011
Prior Effective Dates: 3/1/81, 6/1/84, 9/1/86, 1/2/92, 4/1/03, 9/1/05, 1/1/07