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Innovative training on design, installation and maintenance of safe and challenging play areas
Start date: Sep 1, 2015, End date: Feb 28, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Children and youth are not always considered in the planning process of cities and towns. They often play in less than ideal conditions. Even the play areas intended for children often do not satisfy minimum safety requirements and they can lead to serious non-intentional child injuries. The lack of regular inspections and maintenance has resulted in equipment collapsing and killing or severely injuring children. Estimates using EU Injury Database (IDB) data indicate that annually in the EU 28 Member States approximately 137,000 injuries to children 0-14 years of age involving playground equipment are serious enough to require a visit to the emergency room. In our experience the staff of the agents involved in the play spaces, from its conception and design stage until its installation and maintenance do not possess adequate knowledge to create and manage users friendly play spaces. The subjects taught in degrees as architecture, landscape or industrial design do not incorporate fundamental issues for play spaces such as safety factors to avoid accidents or the children's and youth's preferences and needs regarding play, accessibility, the importance of balance between play provision, risk and safety or the keys to creating play areas with an intergenerational perspective. In this sense, the SAFERPLAY partnership aims to contribute to extend the resources and expertise available on play spaces coming from different representatives of working life (research centres, experts, societal partners) towards the high education learning environment. On the other hand, installation and maintenance of play areas, especially in villages and towns, are often carried by general services companies such as construction, cleaning companies or by own staff of local administration without specific training in this area. In fact, we found that training modules on gardening and landscape restoration professional within EQF level 3, although they have in their skills the installation and maintenance of equipment and furniture of parks and gardens, these training units lack of specific content on child safety equipment, surfacing and furniture of playgrounds. Project SAFERPLAY aims to establish a pioneering cooperation between universities, research associations, societal groups, experts and VET providers and the key stakeholders responsible for the design and safety of play spaces, represented mainly by architects and designers, staff of enterprises and local/regional authorities. As result of SAFERPLAY project it will be obtained a pioneer and innovative Open Educational Resource (OER) in six European languages using innovative ICT-based methodologies, in order to provide training on design, installation and maintenance of safe and challenging play areas, tailor-made and customised to the needs of the staff of the stakeholders involved taking into account the needs of users of play spaces. In addition to providing appropriate knowledge this OER will also serve as a platform for exchanging experiences and collaborative learning between all stakeholders involved in play spaces.

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