Play Guard

Project  / Project number: CB1837  /  Status:

CB1837-E smaller

Client enjoying herself in safety.


The challenge

The client is a 54 year old lady with a severe learning disability, Bipolar, and lives in a residential 24 hour supported placement with two other residents. She has limited activities that she appears to enjoy or engage in, but she seems to love rolling around on the communal lounge floor and will spend most of her time doing this. She will roll, laugh and giggle on the floor, grab at objects and other people around her, unfortunately with no regard to her safety, or that of her peers. It placed an increased demand on staff support time to supervise her, and the staff hours were not available to do this. The staff had investigated different options to allow her to meet this need, to be safe for her and the other residents, and be sufficiently robust. They asked for a safe, robust, padded space for her to to roll on the floor.


The solution

The play guard comprises a wall, 80 cm high, firmly fixed to the floor and a wall, with a padded side towards the user and a padded top. It extends right across the room, a distance of just over 4m. The larger part, 2.08m long, is 30cm wide and is fixed to the floor. The other part, 1.92m long and about 10cm wide, is hinged to one of the walls of the room so that it can be folded back against that wall, providing an opening in the play guard for access by users, staff and lifting equipment. When it its closed position this hinged part is secured to the fixed part by a bolt. It is supported by the floor via a wheel under its swinging end.

Both parts are constructed of 63 x 38mm treated structural timber and 9mm ‘hardwood’ plywood.
The padding is 25mm furniture grade foam supplied by Mark Harris Upholstry, who state that it complies with the Furniture and Furnishings Fire Regulations 1988 and amendments. It is covered with Leatherette Plain Effect Vinyl Contract Upholstery Fabric supplied by, who state that it is:
•Waterproof and certified to BS3424.
•Fire Resistant to BS5852 Ignition source 5 (suitable for contract environments).
The fixed part of the wall is screwed to the 27-mm thick floor of the room, in the absence of a concrete layer, with 36 screws to spread the load widely. There are
sixteen 8 x 70mm screws, eight of which secure eight 70 x 70 x 55mm steel brackets which are also bolted and screwed to the three vertical bulkhead frames which stiffen the wall. These are supplemented by twenty 5 x 70mm screws. Because of the unknown strength of the floor material, it is important that no-one should sit or lean on the wall.
The side of the wall away from the user, towards the residual part of the day room, is plywood painted with washable brown paint (Valspar V500 – satin, colour code
X38R78F, supplied by B&Q Cambridge). Spare paint is provided.

Risks to the user on the floor within the enclosure are minimised by the uninterrupted surface of the wall when closed, and by the provision of padding (the other three walls of the 4.2 x 1.9m enclosed area are the walls of the day room and are not padded). Fire risk is minimised by the use of fire resistant materials complying with official standards: it is similar to or less than the fire risk of ordinary furniture that complies with the same regulations. Risk of infection or contamination is minimised by the use of waterproof and wipe-able fabric cover and paint. The risk of damage to the wall or the floor by large forces applied to the wall is mitigated by the provision of a prominent sign advising that no-one should sit or lean on the wall.

The benefit

This improves the user’s quality of life, enabling her to do what she loves, with minimal risk to her and to the other residents. It also reduces the supervision demand on the staff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *