Accessible Playground Advocacy

A young boy with short brown hair and a red tshirt sits in a wheelchair next to his mother with long blond hair and black clothing. Its a side view sitting at a desk with a microphone.
Bodhi Bhattarai, along with his mom, Deodonne Bhattarai testifies at a NH Senate Commerce Hearing on playgrounds.

On Tuesday March 21st, the New Hampshire Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on HB467.  This bill specifies future playground constructions to include accessible surface materials.  The family members of the Council for Youths with Chronic Conditions (CYCC) attended to provide education and understanding of how families experience many of the existing playgrounds.

HB467’s suggested rubber composite material or similar solid surface material would allow for all people to enjoy and have fun at playgrounds.  Stories were told about by multiple families who struggled to push or walk across playgrounds without a solid substance.  The issues were due to many different reasons.  Caretakers with disabilities pushing strollers. Educators with disabilities on playground duty. And of course, children in wheelchairs.  A strong point was made that even though current playgrounds are compliant under the general and broadly written federal American Disability Act (ADA), they are still not accessible. This bill addresses that concern.

CYCC’s recent Needs Assessment on families caring for children with chronic conditions recommends more accessible playgrounds in NH to combat families experience of feeling isolated and excluded.  CYCC testified in support of this bill that promotes universal design for all public playgrounds.

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