Children need playgrounds
14 Aug 2023
Development of the whole society
Children's playgrounds not only provide entertainment and fun, but also fulfil an essential role in children's development. They encourage physical activity, social interaction and imagination, while providing a safe space for children to discover and develop their skills.
The BSFH is committed to ensuring that children's playgrounds are available throughout the country and are continuously developed to meet the needs of children.
Even before the Corona crisis, the immense importance of modern play and exercise facilities was known. Especially in urban areas with their growing population and the dwindling of recreational areas due to inner-city densification, it is necessary that such areas are available in sufficient numbers and with attractive facilities.
The foundations of the BSFH's demand for well-founded support are:
- ENJOYMENT OF LIFE: Play, sport and exercise are elementary, elementary components of every person's life and are and are to be promoted above all in freely accessible spaces.
- HEALTH: Exercise in the open air brings joy and benefits for physical health. Regular physical activity also has positive effects on the mind and psyche.
- PREVENTION: Outdoor exercise is not only beneficial for the individual, regardless of age, but also for society as a whole society as a whole in terms of preventive health effects.
- INFECTION PROTECTION: Exercise outdoors offers advantages over indoor exercise, especially in terms of epidemiological factors, in terms of epidemiological factors.
- DEVELOPMENT: Children's playgrounds promote the cognitive, social and physical skills of the youngest members of society.
- SOCIAL: Outdoor exercise - informally organized - has an enormous impact on social well-being and promotes positive social behavior.
- CLIMATE PROTECTION: Area-wide outdoor exercise provides offers the possibility of meaningful leisure time activities without serious leisure time activities without serious ecological effects.
- PRIORISATION: Reduced budgetary allocations must not lead to lead to reduced investments in socially and health-relevant areas, but on the contrary to their prioritization.
The health benefits of a physical activity-friendly and activating infrastructure in cities and municipalities are undisputed. More physical activity benefits not only the individual, but also the general population and various institutions, such as health insurance companies. If sport and exercise are possible as preventive measures in many places and are practiced more, this will save massive costs in health care in the future. This is a benefit not only for the health insurance funds, but also for society as a whole and ultimately for everyone.
Scientific studies show how elementary play and exercise are for children's development. Not only are motor and cognitive skills learned and improved, but also, for example, language acquisition and social interaction are promoted at an early age. Children can develop through play on playgrounds that are designed to be appealing and challenging. Through a variety of forms of movement, mental and physical challenges, and togetherness with other children, they can learn and develop many skills on playgrounds. This is only possible to a very limited extent at home.
It is important that we give everyone - from toddlers to pensioners - access to their own physical activity. And not only in schools or sports clubs, but directly in the personal environment, as close to home as possible. It is important to create areas that not only offer opportunities, but at the same time also create incentives to move.
Play and movement in the company of other people is an important social factor - because moving together increases motivation, duration and above all the enjoyment of the activity in most cases. This is one of the reasons why many amateur athletes outside the club world are organized in smaller or larger groups to be active together outdoors. Publicly accessible exercise areas and playgrounds enable social and communicative participation of all population groups in the spaces. They prevent the exclusion of children and young people due to a lack of financial resources. They enable participation, involvement, and equal opportunities for movement activities in everyday life outside of commercial offers. Attractive and demand-oriented movement and play areas can lead to a revitalization of residential neighborhoods, enhance city centers and town centers, and contribute to an improvement of the residential environment. The areas are thus an indispensable contribution to urban quality of life. It has been proven that play and exercise facilities contribute to improving infrastructures suitable for children, families, and the elderly, to increasing cohesion in the urban district and to improving the integration of disadvantaged population groups and people with a migration background. Therefore, such facilities are an important building block within the framework of an integrated urban development concept and district work. They thus have an extraordinarily high and positive spatial planning steering effect and increase identification with a district.
A movement-friendly infrastructure within the municipality means more than just an expansion of pedestrian and bicycle paths. To meet the needs of a large part of the population, stimulating exercise areas close to home are of great importance. For large parts of the population to have the chance to promote their own physical activity through these facilities, it is important that they are easily accessible. The shorter the distance from the home to an exercise area, the more the options will be used. It is not the citizen who has to look for the physical activity space, but he should encounter it, in as many places as possible. If travelling to distant places is not possible, they must also find appealing places for play, sport and exercise "at home" in their hometown. Active leisure time activities must be guaranteed close to home. And that everywhere and for everyone without the individual having to pay a contribution to costs.
Self-responsible health care must also be possible for everyone - equal living conditions should play an important role in our society. And installations close to home have another benefit - they also offer ecological advantages if people do not have to travel far for their leisure activities. Urban play and exercise areas with green spaces make an important contribution to the urban microclimate. They enable air exchange, reduce urban overheating, reduce the degree of sealing of urban ground surfaces, improve the water storage capacity of the soil, provide shade with a tree population and can be a contribution to networked vegetation islands in the urban area. In times of increasing building densification of urban spaces, play and movement areas can be used to secure space for indispensable green areas. These green areas play an important ecological role for living organisms, air quality and quality of stay in urbanized areas. Urban planning experience shows that once green spaces for play and exercise have been converted, they are lost forever!
Play, sport and physical activity must be elementary components of the life of every person in our society. Therefore, cities and municipalities must not restrict these areas through austerity measures. There are no losers in the promotion of play- and exercise-friendly infrastructure - only winners.
A central component of the BSFH's commitment is sustainable management. The association promotes the manufacture of play and leisure facilities that are produced in a resource-conserving and environmentally friendly manner. Innovative materials and technologies are used to ensure a high durability of the facilities while minimizing the ecological footprint.
As an expression of the high-quality standards and expertise of its members, the BSFH has established a seal of quality. This certificate distinguishes playground and leisure facilities that meet the association's high requirements. It combines expertise, organizational knowledge, and craftsmanship excellence to ensure that playgrounds meet the highest quality and safety standards.
New quality seal for more transparency and quality assurance
The number of suppliers on the market of playground and fitness equipment is continuously growing - be it in the field of production and planning, assembly and maintenance or production of necessary fall protection materials. Low-cost suppliers from the Far East are increasingly trying to penetrate this market through imitations and aggressive dumping prices. This leads not only to an intensification of competition among the suppliers, but also to an increasing lack of transparency from the customer's point of view. It is becoming increasingly difficult for clients to distinguish good quality and high professional competence from market participants with inferior products or services.
To counteract this development, the BSFH has now presented a new seal of quality for its members. From now on, they can receive the BSFH seal of quality based on a detailed test procedure in the areas of social responsibility, organizational structure and professional competence.
Within the scope of the test procedure, the companies must answer numerous questions within these three categories and partly substantiate them with written and pictorial evidence. Among other things, it is checked whether or to what extent production takes place in Germany, how high the percentage of recyclable materials is within the products or, for example, whether safety certificates are available for most a company's standard products. Each question is weighted with a score. "To ensure the appropriate value of the seal, each of the three categories must be passed individually. Only when all three categories have been passed individually can the BSFH seal of quality then be released for use by our office," explains Gerold Gubitz, Managing Director of the BSFH.
The BSFH is sure that the seal of approval will ensure more transparency in the industry and will contribute significantly to quality assurance: "The new industry award signals to the customer at first glance which company in the market of the playground equipment and fitness equipment industry stands for tested competence, quality and sustainability. This is how we ensure transparency and guarantee quality." Gerold Gubitz continues.
The German Association of Playground and Leisure Facility Manufacturers (BSFH) actively promotes the importance of children's playgrounds as an important element of children's development. As a lobby group for the industry, the association stands for sustainable business and attaches particular importance to the quality and safety of playground and leisure facilities.