Playground Safety Checklist

Playground Safety Checklist

It never fails, whenever the sun is out kids,and often their parents, are at the park soaking in the sun and having fun on the slides, monkey bars and swings. What could be better for our kids that getting exercise and being active outside? This statement is true but park playgrounds can have their risks.

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), two thirds of the number of injuries in which children were taken to the ER from 2005 thru 2013, were caused from children falling from swings, slides and overhead ladders. The CDC also reported that 20,000 kids ages 14 and over come to the ER every year for playground-related brain injuries.

Playgrounds have changed a lot over the last 40 years and have become safer than ever before. It’s hard to believe that playgrounds were ever built on cement with tall metal slides, swings, and monkey bars, extremely hot under summer sun hovering over hard surfaces that would cause certain injury. Today’s playgrounds are built with a number of different materials including plastic and are designed with the whole child in mind. They are designed to help the child develop physically and even socially.

While playgrounds are safer than ever before, hazards still exist. Our safety checklist can help avoid potential problems.

It’s surprising that despite all of the improvements to playgrounds over the last several years a recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that 20,000 kids 14 and younger come to the ER every year for playground related brain injuries. About 2/3 of these injuries are cause by falls from swings, slides, and overhead ladders. Even more alarming, The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that in a study that ER visits increased substantially from 2005-2013.

So what can parents do to make sure that these statistics don’t involve their child? Here are some ideas that will help keep your child safe this year at the park.

1. Evaluate the playground surface. Only play at playgrounds with safety-rated surfaces that reduce injury like wood chips, sand, or pea gravel. Avoid playgrounds with asphalt, concrete, or grass as a surface below playground equipment. You may think that the playground surface doesn’t matter, that your child isn’t going to fall. But keep in mind that no parent takes their kids to the park expecting them to fall.

Our products, Sof’Fall and Sof’Bounce, are incredible options. Sof’Fall is a specialized type of wood chip. When 8-12” deep, it is rated for falls up to 25 feet and has a 10 year warranty. Sof’Bounce is shredded tires. It has a 50 year warrantee and can cushion falls for up to 13 feet. Both are great options for keeping playgrounds safe and are rated much higher than typical surfaces.

2. Look for tripping hazards. Look for tree roots, pieces of metal or anything sticking up that can be a hazard for your kids. Warn your kids or avoid areas with these hazards.

3. Evaluate guard rails. Make sure playground equipment has appropriate guard rails to protect kids, especially when they are up high.

4. Closely supervise your kids. As parents, it is tempting to sit down at a park bench, breathe a sigh of relief, pull out a smart phone, and look up every once in a while. Kids that are more closely supervised build relationships with their parents and are safer because parents help them avoid falls. Parents can also help kids socially avoid conflicts, share, and have a positive experience.

So if you are looking to upgrade your backyard playground’s surface, or if you are concerned about the playground surface at your kids’ favorite park, look into our Sof’Fall safety surface products. We want your kids to have fun while playing and to be as safe as possible.

[U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Injuries and investigated deaths associated with playground equipment, 2001-2008. https://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/108596/playground.pdf. Published October 29, 2009. Accessed April 26, 2016.]

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Benefits of Exercise on the Brain

Benefits of Exercise on the Brain

No one will argue that exercise is good for you. Exercise improves cardiovascular health, helps control weight and blood pressure, and helps us have more energy. More and more evidence is mounting that regular exercise improves mental and physical skills.

…something as simple as kids having a chance to play on playground equipment before school starts in the morning may affect their behavior and concentration in school.

For school-age children, outdoor exercise has even more benefits. Taking your kids to play at the park, going on a walk, or playing sports may help your child to have a healthy body. More and more studies are finding a link between healthy bodies and better performance in school. Scientific studies are proving what every parent suspects—that strong bodies equal strong minds. Exercise is essential for success at school. So, your time on the school playground equipment was actually helping. But schools can’t make exercise breaks optional anymore because of all the potential benefits.

EXERCISE AND LEARNING: Scientific studies show what most parents already know, strong bodies equal strong minds.

Benefits of exercise

Increased academic performance. A study cited in the Journal of Pediatrics found that a positive relationship exists between academic performance and motor skills and aerobic exercise. What that means is that if kids have recess at school and have the chance to run around, play sports, and/or climb on playground equipment, they will not only be strengthening their physical bodies but will be helped academically as well.

Increased focus and concentration for every student, but having a greater impact on students with ADHD symptoms. The Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology reports that a 2014 study conducted by researchers from Michigan State University and the University of Vermont found that offering before-school programs based on aerobic exercise decreased ADHD symptoms at school and at home. This means that something as simple as kids having a chance to play on playground equipment before school starts in the morning may affect their behavior and concentration in school.

Increased cognition or the ability to learn. Studies have shown that exercise can slow or even reverse cognitive decline in older people with dementia. For school-age children, studies reported by the UK’s Centre for Educational Neuroscience have shown that aerobic exercise can increase the plasticity of the brain and can affect learning in a number of different ways: “perceptual skills, intelligence quotient, verbal tests, mathematic tests, memory, developmental level, and academic readiness in all ages from 4-18 years.” Exercise is essential to being “smart” at school.

Increased positive behavior at home and at school. In a study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University, reported in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, an increase in exercise during the school day had positive behavioral effects in the classroom and at home. The far-reaching effects of something so simple are astounding. Exercise not only affects kids at school but can have positive effects for hours afterward.

The bottom line is that exercise can’t be considered something extra, like a reward for children for good behavior or for finishing homework. It is essential to their learning, behavior, and brain health. Exercise needs to be part of every school day and every day at home. Every school and pre-school should have a playground for kids to play on, with the proper safety measures in place, of course. Playgrounds are the perfect way for exercise to be playful and spontaneous and fun.

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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Not all Playground Wood Surfacing is Created Equal

Not all Playground Wood Surfacing is Created Equal

Because Sof’Fall crushed wood surfacing is manufactured from new wood, you can be sure that it is virtually free of any toxic substances. Recycled wood products, derived from used pieces of pressure-treated wood, chemical-soaked pallets and other undesirable wood, cannot claim to be free of toxic substances. – Poisoned Playgrounds – Arsenic in Pressure Treated Wood.

“Virtually all of the lumber sold for outdoor uses in the United States is pressure-treated, a misleading term that hides the fact that the wood is injected with vast amounts of toxic compounds to preserve the wood and kill termites.”

An article published by the Environmental Working Group, titled “Poisoned Playgrounds” states that wood on picnic tables and on equipment and playground surfaces may contain hazardous levels of arsenic.

CONSUMER BEWARE: Non-Sof’Fall wood mixed with non-toxic virgin wood of Sof’Fall Engineered wood surface can void your “Play Protection Plan” warranty.

“Each year, an estimated 2,300 children under age five go to hospital emergency rooms with poisoning-related injuries.” Substances in “petroleum distillates are a group of hydro-carbon-based chemicals refined from crude oil. They include gasoline, kerosene, mineral spirits, maptha, paraffin wax, and tar. They are the primary ingredient in many products, solvents, adhesives, and automotive chemicals. Aspiration of even small amounts of these substances into the lungs can cause asthma, pneumonia, pulmonary damage, and death.” In these cases, “most children had primarily poisoning-related injuries and were exposed to these products through inhalation ingestion, or eye or skin contact.” (Consumer Product Safety Review, Vol 1 No. 4, Reducing Poisonings to Children).

Non-Toxic Virgin Wood

Often the question arises, “Is Sof’Fall a recycled product?” The answer is, No… and Yes! Sof’Fall engineered wood fiber is a by-product of virgin wood derived from a variety of rough cut wood species prior to being cured (kiln dried*). Before Sof’Fall is delivered to a playground site, it undergoes a seven-step manufacturing process. It is interesting to note that prior to the manufacturing of this wood by-product, it was considered waste and disposed of.

Although Sof’Fall is not a derivative of previously used wood, it makes good environmental sense and is the safest protective surfacing on the market.

“The fact that wood is an environmentally friendly product is undeniably important to an increasing number of consumers. There is a growing appreciation for what engineered wood is doing for people and forest alike.” (Evergreen Magazine, Dec-1996, pg. 12, Engineered Wood: Improving on Nature).

*Kiln dried or cured wood means the moisture has been removed prior to manufacturing plywood, pallets and 2x4’s. Because virgin wood retains moisture content, it is softer and more user friendly.

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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