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6 point guide to outdoor play equipment for holiday cottages

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Outdoor Play EquipmentWith spring and summer ahead, it will be natural for holiday cottage guests to start spending more time outside. For many families, having the space and facilities for kids to play during their stay is important. For this reason installing outdoor play equipment, if you haven’t already got it, could be a great idea.

If you’re looking to purchase or replace outdoor play equipment at your holiday home or cottage complex, there are a few things for you to consider. Let’s take a look at what those are before you take the plunge…

Invest in quality outdoor play equipment

When it comes to your holiday home it’s essential that you invest in the highest quality equipment available. It not only reduces the risk of accidents as a result of faulty parts or poor construction, it will also last longer, making it a solid long term investment.

We always recommend purchasing any play equipment from a reputable seller, and always follow installation and maintenance guidelines, as tempting as it may be to believe you don’t need the instructions.

Whilst insurance policies tend to come with public liability as standard. You have a duty of care to take reasonable precautions to reduce any potential risks to your guests. Make sure that any play equipment carries the CE or GS mark. Equally it is important that the equipment is installed, maintained, and operated in accordance with manufacturers guidelines. (It’s worth keeping a log of when you last checked it, and other things such as when it is stored inside for winter).

What is the recommended age?

Not all outdoor play equipment is suitable for all ages, so make sure that you’re clear on what age group your outdoor play equipment is suitable for. Ensure that this age is explicitly stated in your welcome information pack, and stress to families that children above and below that age should not be using the equipment.

Essential safety features

Making your new outdoor play equipment as safe as possible. Thus ensuring that your guests have a safe stay in your cottage. Only install equipment that can be secured to the ground. Also it’s important to provide children with plenty of space around the equipment. This is particularly important with items such as trampolines, which will dictate a safe distance in their literature. Check that ropes have protection against wear at their fixing points on swings, and that the sides of slides are at least 64mm high.

Climbing frames must not be any more than 2 metres high. Any equipment that is over 0.6 meters high must have an impact absorbent surface beneath.

Regular inspections

Detailed monthly inspections of play equipment need to be carried out to ensure that it is fit for use. Ropes, bolts, and security must all be checked and repaired or disposed of as necessary. You will also need to frequently clean the equipment.

Always keep a record of when maintenance checks have been undertaken and be sure to have a process for undertaking this activity in place.

Do you have a sand pit?

If you do then you’ll need to be be aware of Toxocariasis, an infection caused by worms commonly found in the intestines of dogs. Children who come into contact with contaminated sand or soil are at risk. We recommend that sand pits are covered when not in use. Animal faeces should be cleaned up at the earliest opportunity. If your accommodation is dog friendly then it’s good to make sure guests are aware of this in their welcome pack.

Check your holiday cottage insurance cover

When making any changes, we always encourage clients to let us know. Play equipment of the type can be found in many DIY stores and some garden centres. Outdoor play equipment carrying the CE or GS mark will generally be fine. It should always be installed, maintained, and operated in accordance with manufacturer’s guidelines. It is always worth getting in touch with your holiday home insurance broker for guidance when adding additional facilities.

Please note that this article on outdoor play equipment and guest safety is only intended as an overview of what you need to be doing in each of these areas.  For further information please contact the relevant authority and read up on all procedures and requirements. Please read the ROSPA guidance which can be found here.

If you have questions about outdoor play equipment and your policy, get in touch on cottages@boshers.co.uk

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Require a quote for your holiday apartment, cottage or complex? Please give us a call on 01237 429444.

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