Designing An Inclusive Playground?

DON’T FORGET TO INCLUDE AN ACCESSIBLE RESTROOM

Inclusive parks provide a play experience for children with and without disabilities. They remove barriers and provide a positive and engaging experience for all children. While much thought is given to the play equipment, a restroom is a must when creating an outdoor space.

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Location Is Key
Restrooms should be located within sight of playgrounds to provide convenient access to everyone. Many kids don’t want to stop playing, so they wait until the last minute to notify an adult they need to go, so quick access is important.

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Restroom Design Considerations
Single-occupant design is a key feature in inclusive parks. This is safer for families with children, as parents will be able to accompany other-gender children to wash up without fear. Beyond safety, this design helps people with disabilities who have other-gender caregivers.

Adult Changing Station
Many people with disabilities cannot utilize a standard toilet, requiring the use of a changing table. The adult-size changing table can hold a person up to 400 pounds, which helps caretakers make the park experience easier and more convenient.

Eliminate Noisy Restrooms
Kids with sensory issues have a difficult time with loud noises. Consider a lever flush instead of an automatic flushing toilet. Nothing is worse for kids than the random, loud flushing of a toilet when they aren’t expecting it. Controlling when the flush occurs and allowing the kids to leave the restroom first or cover their ears helps them with their fears.

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Matching Architectural Theme
Inclusive parks typically have a theme to them so allow the restroom to be part of the architectural look of the park. The exterior finish of the building is how the building will blend into the environment. Beyond the block construction, finishes such as lap siding, stucco, brick, or cultured stone can be added to enhance the aesthetic.

Sizing The Facility
Determining how many restrooms are needed should be based on park attendance. Typically, half of the park attendees will be using the restroom while visiting the park. A single-occupant restroom with one toilet and a sink services 45 users per hour.

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Components Matter
Providing fresh air to restrooms is a better way to provide ventilation than mechanical fans. This can be done through stainless-steel woven vent screens or louvers at the gable ends of the buildings. Open vents also provide the ability to call out for help if needed while in the restroom.

Other items to consider:

• Door hardware that is anti-microbial helps kill germs on contact.

• A coat hook on the wall provides a clean place to hang a bag in lieu of placing anything on the restroom floor.

• Sinks with sensor faucets allows parents to help kids wash their hands instead of pushing the lever to keep the flow of water.

• Occupancy-activated LED light fixtures help reduce the waste of electricity while the restroom is not in use.

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