An expert assessment on playspace designs and thermal environments in a Canadian context

Daniel J. Vecellio, Jennifer K. Vanos, Eric Kennedy, Heather Olsen, Gregory R.A. Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Playgrounds are a hub for child play and concerns that may impact children's play there may hinder their health and well-being. Extreme temperatures can increase risks in children of sunstroke, burns from playground surfaces, and exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Despite health risks from extreme heat to children, existing playground design standards around the world, including in Canada, make little-to-no mention of how to design playgrounds for thermal comfort, particularly in summer. To help fill this gap in the Canadian context, several organizations collaborated to develop guidance for thermally comfortable playgrounds in Canada. As part of this project, an online survey was administered to 55 experts with diverse professional backgrounds, largely from Canada and the United States, to determine how thermal comfort is viewed in playground design and safety. Survey results showed agreement among experts that thermal comfort receives low or no priority in playground design but should be prioritized or considered alongside other safety factors in relevant playground safety guidelines and standards. The results of this survey not only helped inform the 2020 publication of a Thermal Comfort annex to the CSA Group's Children's playgrounds and equipment standard (CAN/CSA Z614) but could also help inform future research and practice globally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101235
JournalUrban Climate
Volume44
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Child
  • Climate change
  • Hot temperature
  • Play
  • Playground
  • Ultraviolet rays
  • Urban health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies
  • Atmospheric Science

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