Many childcare facilities have outdoor play areas enclosed by fences. For these enclosures to be safe and “kid-proof,” they should be the right type and be installed by a professional fence company. Whether you own a daycare facility or are a parent searching for one, pay particular attention to the type of enclosures that surround play areas.
Texas law requires that childcare facilities have barriers that are properly installed by experienced fence services that meet certain safety specifications.
The first rule in choosing fences that are suitable for day care centers and child play areas is they must be “child proof.” This means that kids cannot easily climb or fit through outside enclosures in any way, cannot get their heads stuck, and must not have sharp points or edges that can cause injury.
To meet these needs, the best options offered by most fence services are: wood enclosures such as ones with close pickets or horizontal boards; wood with small wire mesh behind them; close rung metal panels; tall privacy panels; and walls made from brick or masonry. Chain link fences in a tight mesh that is small enough to prevent little feet from fitting through the openings are also desirable.
In addition to being the right style, local fence companies that install such enclosures around child play areas must be sure they are tall enough so they cannot be easily scaled. Texas law specifies that standard daycare facilities that accept children under the age of five years must have an enclosure that is at least four feet in height.
Some daycare programs, such as after-school classroom programs at local public schools or get-well care programs, are exempt from this rule. If there is a swimming pool at the facility, it must be surrounded by a barrier that is a minimum of six feet in height.
Secure, Locking Gates
State law also specifies that childcare facilities required to have fences must also have at least two exit gates for safety reasons. One of these exits can be a gate or door that leads to the building at the facility. Gates installed by fence services may be locked while the enclosed play area is in use; however, all facility employees must be able to quickly unlock them.
Workers must know all security codes necessary to unlock gates, carry gate keys with them at all times, and be trained in how to immediately open gates in an emergency. Buzz gates and other security systems installed by a fence company are recommended.
If you are setting up a daycare or enclosing a new play area, discuss your plans with a fence company that has experience installing these type of enclosures. Professional fence services can help you choose the right enclosure to keep children of all ages safe. Parents looking for a safe and reputable daycare facility should also investigate the fencing at each one to be sure it meets the above requirements. Good, safe fences are essential for all childcare facilities!