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Playground Inspection Legislation

Many state governments include playground safety laws and regulations but only the State of California require an inspection by a Certified Playground Safety Inspector, CPSI. These inspections verify that play grounds are compliant using the playground related specifications from the American Society of Testing and Materials and playground related recommendations from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Some states only need compliance using the recommendations from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The data contained on this web site is created for use within California and may not be totally appropriate for use in all states. If your state does not have a set of playground safety laws then these two documents are generally accepted as the “Standard of Care” and most of the information on this site should be useful.

Adopted by the State of California effective January 1, 2000 and revised by Assembly Bill (AB) 1144 – Harman (copy of Legislation) on August 22, 2006 effective on January 1, 2008. The Playground Safety Regulations have not been changed to reflect the requirements of AB 1144 but the changes have been made to the Health and Safety Code Section 115725.  See  link

How often or when must your playground be inspected?

  • Playgrounds installed before December 31, 1993 must be inspected by a Certified Playground Safety Inspector before October 1, 2000 and must be modified to comply with the California Playground safety Regulations before January 1, 2003.
  • Playgrounds installed between January 1, 1994, and December 31, 1999, are exempt from full compliance with the California Playground Safety Regulations until 15 years after the date of installation but must be modified before January 1, 2003 to be at least as protective as the guidelines in the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Handbook for Public Playground Safety, Publication 325-94.  For example: 15 years from January 1, 1994 is January 1, 2009 so the exemption deadline for equipment installed in 1999 is January 1, 2014.
  • Existing Play areas are not required to be re-certified because of AB 1144 unless modifications have been made since the original certification.
  • Playgrounds built or modified after January 1, 2008 must be inspected by a Certified Playground Safety Inspector.

What playgrounds are required to be inspected?

  • Playground open to the public are required to be inspected.  Playground open to the public includes but is not limited to, a church, subdivision, hotel, motel, resort, camp, office, hospital, shopping center, day care setting, and restaurant.
  • Playgrounds in child care centers regulated by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) pursuant to Title 22 of Division 12 of Chapter 1 of the California Code of Regulations and facilities operated for the developmentally disabled are required to comply.

What playgrounds are not required to be inspected?

  • Playgrounds in a foster family home, certified family home, small family home, group home, or family day care home, which is licensed and regulated to meet child safety requirements enforced by the State Department of Social Services, are not required to be inspected.
  • Residential playgrounds are not required to be inspected.  Residential play equipment is covered by a separate ASTM Specification (F 1148) and CPSC Outdoor Home Playground Safety Handbook (Publication #324).

Playground Inspection Worksheets

The California Recreation and Parks Society playground inspection worksheet copies are available free to anyone else who wishes to use them. The Worksheets are also available here.

For additional information or to place an order, please contact us .  The forms can be saved to your computer as a library then used to create print and store reports for your projects.  The basic set includes worksheets for conducting Audits for play areas for children 2 years through 12 years of age (ASTM F 1487). A separate set is available for play areas for children 6 months through 23 months of age (ASTM F 2373).


Information on this page is taken from the web page of Safeplay by Design Inc.