Any experienced construction crew has looked at playgrounds in trying to figure out to do most of the structures more effectively. Because of this it can be interesting to look at the history of playgrounds and see why some of the structures exist and why they are so common. While some of the structures are relatively new others have a fun history, and in a number of cases personal history with the structure can make for some compelling why they are designed the way are.
See-Saw Safety Considerations
Originally playgrounds were designed to give children an area where they could practice sportsmanship and good manners, but they have been re-designed so as to encourage physical fitness with an element of risk assessment thrown in. One of the first structures to be part of the playground was the ubiquitous see-saw: A simple plank placed over a fulcrum that operated by one group of children acting as a counterweight to another group of children. Over time it replaced by a bar with seats and handles and the fulcrum so as to avoid children falling off it and fingers getting caught in the fulcrum. While sometimes the plank structure has been maintained, the precise mechanism has been modified; sometimes it is essentially a hole in the bar and others it is a ball bearing based mechanism.
Slide Safety Considerations
Slides have seen the most improvements in safety. Originally little more than a piece of metal with stair to prop it up, the slide has had sides added in order to keep children on it. Also, major problem was from the burns caused when a metal slide would heat up during summer; more slides are made from plastic in order to prevent this. Lastly, the barriers on top have been increased in order to ensure that children fall from the top of the side.
Swing Safety Considerations
Swings are another major structure that has seen some change, but mostly in the setting. While they started off as just a rope and an old tire, this was eventually replaced by a strap of rubber and long chains. Versions that allowed someone to push the occupants have also taken off in the form of a large box with seats in order to maximize safety. Also, a baby swing was added with a bar to keep the baby in. However, they fell out of favor as parents began to see them as a health hazard given that too many children would jump off them and sustain broken limbs. However, this problem was solved somewhat by changing the setting of the swings itself; the most common change has been the addition of addition of a pit of sawdust or wood bark.
A lot of changes have been in terms of style rather than form and all of these changes have come from someone looking at the standard structures and having a little fun in seeing what could be done to the structures a little safer. An experienced construction crew can help design these structures with whatever safety feature are needed, and some may even have a little too much fun showing you what they could do. As usual, the best idea is to ask a company what they can do based on what you need and step back: The best will surprise and thrill you, and there will be a problem holding them back.