Judging the Safety of Playground Surfacing

Judging the Safety of Playground Surfacing

Whether you’re a parent concerned about where you take your children to play or a business owner looking to build a new playground, the most important thing to consider during children’s playtime is their safety.

“The Federation of America reports that approximately 75% of all playground injuries are caused by falls, making the surface material of a playground the most important factor in making playgrounds safe”

Because the point of children’s playground equipment is to provide a thrilling experience where children can run and play in ways not easy or possible elsewhere, and because children often enjoy this equipment while running around with others, there is an increased risk of injury.

Sof’Fall Engineered wood surface is the safest solution when it comes to to playground surfacing. Playground surfaces are the most responsible area for injury.

There are several different options to consider when picking the surface material for your playground. To help make the decision of picking soft playground surfacing an easy one, read on for information about the different types of playground surfaces.

Playground Surface options

The options available for playground surfaces include everything from cement, dirt and sand to different types of rubber and wood chips. First and foremost, cement is the least safe option among these listed. Not only is cement a hard surface that can cause scrapes, cuts, bruises and broken bones, but it will crack and shift over time, becoming less safe and requiring constant maintenance.

Dirt/Sand

Dirt is a better option from a softness standpoint, as it provides a little bit of bounce upon impact, however it is very prone to wear, tear and the need for maintenance when subjected to heavy use and the different weather conditions typical of any playground. A simple rain storm can cause dirt to shift and harden upon drying, creating an uneven surface and trip hazard. Sand is similar to dirt in that it can shift and harden over time to create tripping hazards, but it can also be especially difficult to navigate for anyone with mobility challenges. 

“Sand can attract unwanted guests to the playground area, such as stray cats looking for a litter box or bugs looking for a new home.”

Rubber

Rubber surfaces come in a variety of options, though they are typically the most costly of the soft playground surfacing. While rubber surfaces can be durable and long-lasting, they may not have enough bounce in them to prevent harsh falls and can cause painful burns and scrapes similar to concrete if a child skids across them. Rubber playground surfaces can also absorb the heat from the sun, making them very hot to the touch.

Wood Chips

Wood chips, however, are among the safest options available for playground surfaces. In particular, specialty products like Sof’Fall wood chips are designed specifically for safety and use in playgrounds. The looseness of these engineered wood fiber chips prevents scrapes and burns and adds an increased level of bounce for falls up to 25’ high. Overall, Sof’Fall playground wood chips are a cost-effective and low-maintenance surface that can help drastically increase the safety of a Salt Lake City play area. When taking your child to a playground or designing one yourself, you can’t go wrong with Sof’Fall wood chips

We've been catching children when they fall for over 27 Years

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How Do Different Playground Surfaces Respond To Heat?

How Do Different Playground Surfaces Respond To Heat?

Playground surfacing is a critical item to consider on a playground, especially in the direct summer heat of the sun in Utah. Playground surfaces are typically comprised of sand, cement, asphalt, rubber, and Sof fall engineered wood chips.

Each of these playground surfacing materials react to the sun and heat in different ways. We will take a look at the effect the sun and heat has on each of the typical playground materials, to determine the best playground materials; however, before we do that, lets first look at how different substances react to the heat in general:

Specific Heat

When it comes to the temperature of a particular material in relation to heat and sunlight, specific heat must be understood. Specific heat is the heat required to raise the temperature of a substance by one degree Celsius. It takes into account the mass of the substance and the amount of temperature change in Celsius. It comes out at: X = joule/gram-degree Celsius. This is helpful when planning out your playground’s soft surfacing.

In layman terms, the higher (X) is, the more heat required to change the temperature of the substance. For instance, water has a specific heat of 4.186 joule / gram-degree Celsius, which is higher than any other substance. Sand, on the other hand, only has a specific heat of 0.19 joule / gram-degree Celsius. Therefore, it requires a lot more heat to change the temperature of water than it does to change the temperature of sand.

Accidents and injuries can happen on any playground. Our duty to our children is to take every precaution to minimize the chances of occurrence.

With that understanding, let’s dive into the effect of the heat and sun on the common playground surfaces:

Sand

As stated above, sand has a really low tolerance to heat and the sun. With a specific heat of 0.19, it requires very little heat to begin warming up the sand. If the temperature outside is 75 degrees, sand on playgrounds to reach near 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature outside reaches 90 degrees, then you are at risk of first and second degree burns on your skin.

Cement

Concrete has a slightly higher specific heat than sand, which is 0.21. Although it may take a bit longer than the sand to heat up in the sun, concrete reaches high temperatures during the summer. When the temperature reaches above 90 degrees, the concrete can reach temperatures over 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Not to mention, a cement flooring would make for a pretty unsafe playground surface no matter what the weather.

Asphalt

It may seem counterintuitive, but asphalt has a slightly higher specific temperature than concrete, at 0.22. However, the color of the asphalt must be considered. The black surface of asphalt will absorb the heat and hold it for longer than the other materials. Thus, the heat remains even when the sun goes down.

Rubber

Rubber has a specific heat of 0.3, giving it a higher resistance to the heat than sand, concrete, and asphalt. However, on hot summer days, even rubber can reach unbearable temperatures. Furthermore, rubber traps the heat into the immediate area, thus creating something of a humid pocket of heat.

Sof’Fall Wood  Chips

Sof Fall Wood Chips are made of wood fiber, giving it the same specific heat as wood products at roughly 0.5. Therefore, Sof’Fall Wood Chips are more resilient to the summer heat than other playground surfaces, making it among the best playground materials

 

We've been catching children when they fall for over 27 Years

Get in touch with us to learn why our play area surface products are your best option.
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Are the Playgrounds At My Kid’s School Safe?

Are the Playgrounds At My Kid’s School Safe?

Are the Playgrounds at Your Child’s School Safe? While you are taking your children to school, you will want them to have a safe environment to play in each day. There are hundreds of playground accidents each year that lead to serious injuries, so playground safety is of paramount importance. 

“An unsafe playground can show up just about anywhere. Don’t assume that a playground is safe just because it is in a nice area, newly built, or even at your child’s school” 

However, you may not know what to look for to ensure that a playground at a school has the proper equipment and soft playground surfacing materials. Many parents never visit their child’s recess area or playground, so they have no idea what the equipment and ground look like. 

Children Use a School’s Playground Frequently

With the lack of resources that are available in many school systems, playground maintenance is on the back burner. Your children likely visit a school’s playground after or before school and during recess to have fun for a few minutes, but during this playtime, a serious injury can occur from a fall on the hard or sharp playground surface. In addition, there are other dangers from playground equipment that can lead to serious injuries. Here are the problems that occur from unsafe playground equipment.

Sof’Fall is trying very hard to get our soft playground surfacing in as many schools as possible. When the playground’s surface is hard or unsafe for children then it makes the whole playground a higher risk for injury. Sof’Fall is the safest option when it comes to playground surfacing.  

Lacerations or Puncture Wounds from Sharp Objects

Parents should examine the playground equipment for sharp edges or loose connectors that can cause lacerations or puncture wounds. Remember that children have smaller bodies, making it easier for them to go down slides or to fit through tubes that adults can’t enter, and this is where there are often problems from sharp plastic or metal pieces. If there are loose screws or broken parts on jungle gyms, swings or teeter-totters, then it is imperative to have the problems repaired.

Choking or Strangulation Dangers from Playground equipment

A child can choke or become strangled in only a few seconds from faulty playground equipment. These playground safety issues occur when there are places on playground equipment where a child’s body or head is trapped. Strangulation deaths can happen when a child’s head is stuck between parts of playground equipment or if an item of clothing wraps around a child’s face or neck. By making sure that the playground equipment is connected correctly along with having essential repairs, it is possible to avoid these injuries.

Falling Injuries onto Hard Playground Surfaces

Falling injuries onto hard surfaces below the playground equipment are the most common problems at schools. Children can fall from a swing while it is in motion, or a child may drop from the monkey bars onto the surface below the jungle gym. This can lead to a sprained ankle, broken wrist or a head concussion that requires a trip to the emergency room at the hospital. Old-fashioned playground surfacing materials may include asphalt, gravel, cement or packed soil that won’t protect a child during a fall.

Call Us for Installation of High-quality Playground Surfacing Materials

However, our company is able to install soft playground surfacing material that helps to prevent injuries during a fall, and the playground surfacing material dries quickly after it rains while remaining in great condition for many years. Materials such as small bark chips or engineered rubber are the perfect soft playground surfacing materials at local public schools that need to protect students of all ages from a variety of falling injuries

 

We've been catching children when they fall for over 27 Years

Get in touch with us to learn why our play area surface products are your best option.
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What Makes Sof’Fall So Special

What Makes Sof’Fall So Special

You can never be too careful when it comes to the safety of children. They need to be able to run and play in order to help with their physical and social development. That is why safe playground surfacing is provided by Sof’Fall.

The Making of a new playground surface

For more than 27 years Sof’Fall has been making it safe for  playgrounds to host neighborhood children. Sof’Fall is always there it catch your kids when they fall (literally).

“Sof’Fall wood fiber to create surfacing that is soft enough to prevent major injuries when children fall, which is the cause of a reported 75% of playground accidents.

The surface of each playground is simply loose fiber pieces knitted together. This makes them durable enough to withstand the physical stress of children playing. The padding can be installed in order to cover the hard surface of a playground. The recommended padding thickness for playgrounds is either eight or 12 inches. In some cases, a top-off may be necessary in order to ensure the padding is sufficient.

Sof’Fall Engineered wood surface is the safest option for your child to play on. Cement, sand, wood, and concrete are simply not good enough when it comes to our children’s safety on playgrounds.

Every installation Sof’Fall performs is designed to change the overall safety of the country’s playgrounds. Part of the reason why the company’s product is so durable is that they issue reminders to playground owners to test the thickness of the padding.

Safety Compliance

The way in which Sof’Fall installs playground flooring means that any park using it is in compliance with the ADA. This opens these playgrounds up to any and all children that want to use them. As a result, parks are becoming more family-friendly. Children of all ages are safe when this company’s playground flooring is used.

The typical requirements for playground safety are exceeded when Sof’Fall provides safe playground surfacing. They use non-flammable and non-toxic wood to keep children safe. Children can fall from as high as 25 feet and have their fall padded by this product. No other company in the industry can make this claim. In fact, the surfacing is even IPEMA certified. In addition, its non-flammable quality is due to a lack of available space between the bottom layer of the padding and the ground under it. This prevents oxygen from seeping under the surface and starting a fire.

Product Upkeep Is Easy

City managers are increasingly turning to this product for the safety it provides. Not only does it look completely natural, but the padding is also low maintenance and cost-effective. The biggest maintenance issue with this padding is that it sometimes has to be drained if it is being used in an area that sees a heavy amount of snow or rainfall. A landscaping architect can always help playground operators determine the requirements for proper drainage.

Any playground operator that is not currently using Sof’Fall padding is missing out on a golden opportunity. It is an effective way of making playgrounds safe for every child, every time. Parents and caretakers can have the peace of mind in knowing their children are protected while they play.

 

We've been catching children when they fall for over 27 Years

Get in touch with us to learn why our play area surface products are your best option.
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How Long Should Children Play Outside In Utah?

How Long Should Children Play Outside In Utah?

While many parents are becoming more and more wary of the outdoor world, experts are saying that this is leading children to have developmental problems. In Salt Lake City and around the world the number of children spending hours with their bodies glued to their chairs and their eyes to their screen is growing, and this is not something positive.

Together with the spread of the internet has come to a slew of problems. Many pediatricians today are seeing more cases of children falling off their chairs, now not being able to hold pencils, and not being able to process emotions properly.

Those are all issues, they are saying, that might have been averted via allowing our youngsters extra time to be playing outdoors daily.

It is recommended that toddlers ages one to four should be outside and exercising for at least three hours a day. However, recess is seemingly being shortened all over the states, further lessening the exposure that children get to the outdoors. While this might be being replaced by class time, not everyone agrees that this should be happening. In a collaborative study conducted by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology‘s experts and the obesity specialists at Ottawa’s Children’s Hospital, they have shown that while the majority of time that kids spend is on screens right now, to ensure developmental success, parents need to start stressing the importance of playing outside to their children.

Sof’Fall Engineered wood surface is one of the top rated playground flooring materials. Having Sof’Fall wood chips can transform a dangerous playground into a place your child can play and imagine in safety. One of the biggest steps to helping kids get outside more is helping parents know that the spaces their kids are playing in will catch them when they fall.

GETTING KIDS TO PLAY OUTSIDE

This conversation is no longer happening in the volumes that it needs to, and this is causing children to avoid playing outside. It is suggested that parents immediately change the way they are permitting their children to spend their time if they would like to make sure they have the best chance at health in the future. One of the ways that many parents restrict their child’s development is by keeping them strapped down for too long. Many parents allow their babies to sit in a car seat, bed, or other stationary bed for too long. It is recommended that your baby should be having at least thirty minutes of “tummy time” if they cannot yet crawl.

WHAT ABOUT FOR OLDER CHILDREN?

For older children, you may find they enjoy time on a playground. However, not every parent has the opportunity to take their child to Salt Lake City playgrounds every day. This means that you may want to invest in playgrounds for your children. This way, they could have a hand in deciding which design of the playgrounds they may enjoy. Make sure, though, that you purchase one with enough activities to keep your children interested for a longer period. After your child picks one out, you also need to consider the location of the play place. Even if you may have an area that is covered in grass, if you have a younger child, covering the ground in mulch may ease some of your worries if they were to jump down. 

Children need to learn to climb, be active, and how to steady themselves, but many parents are too worried about them hurting themselves. Having a soft playground material to play on can help ease the parents fear and the child’s fall.

Finding ways to get outside

While the world is getting more online, and more threatening, parents are hurting their children by shutting them away. When they are allowed to explore their interests unburdened, however, they prosper. Making sure that your children are safe should be your priority, so while they need to be climbing and breathing fresh air, make sure they are safer by providing a comfortable place to land.

We've been catching children when they fall for over 27 Years

Get in touch with us to learn why our play area surface products are your best option.
Get your free quote today.

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Call, email or send us a message from our online form. We're happy to answer your questions or send you an estimate.

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