Why Playground Surfacing Is The Most Important Part Of Playground Safety

Why Playground Surfacing Is The Most Important Part Of Playground Safety

When it comes to playground safety, a lot of attention is given to playground guards and equipment. However, the biggest danger to children in the playground is actually from falls. Children exert a lot of energy when playing. They’re not always the most graceful either. Falling is often.

“When children fall on playground materials, the actual material itself could make the fall even worse.”

In order to make playgrounds safe, a soft playground surface is needed. That’s why wood chips from Sof-Fall are the best choice. Here are a few other reasons why a safe playground material like wood chips are a great benefit. Because remember, at the end of the day the safety of our children is the most important thing. 

The playground surfacing can save a simple fall from turning into a trip to the emergency room.

1. Fall Protection From 25 Feet

While playground equipment isn’t always tall, there are a few pieces of equipment that can reach quite a height. Although the railings are built in a way to keep the children inside of the structure, you can be sure that some clever child is going to attempt to climb over the railing to go even higher. If that child should fall, a hard material like cement or even stones can severely injure them.

A soft playground surface like wood chips can help cushion their fall. It has fall protection from up to 25 feet. Should a child fall, their injuries could be dramatically reduced if they fall on wood chips as opposed to harder surfaces.

2. Non-Toxic

Young children will put anything and everything into their mouths. While cement may be harder to chip, when it does, you can be sure that children are going to want to put the pieces into their mouth. The same goes for pebble stones that are used. For many children, the circular pebbles look like various forms of candy. They’ll quickly discover that this isn’t the case when they put it into their mouths, but the damage has already been done.

Wood chips are non-toxic. While their appearance alone should dissuade children from putting them into their mouth, if they do, at the very least, it’s non-toxic. It won’t harm them. It also means that when they’re playing in the wood chips, toxic material isn’t being rubbed into their skin. They’re not breathing it in, and they’re not playing in it.

3. Non-Flammable

Another reason that wood chips are a safe playground material is that they’re non-flammable. A lot of thought goes into fall safety and other dangers, but not that much goes into flammability. Children aren’t the only ones who use the playground. Older teenagers and adults sometimes hang around the area, too. If those individuals smoke, they might set fire to the playground accidentally. If a child happens to be playing on the playground as it happens, it could result in a dangerous situation.

Wood chips from Soft-Fall are not flammable. They won’t present a fire danger to the playground where other soft materials might. This is just one less danger that parents have to worry about.

4. Great For Cost

Outside of playground safety, those who are in charge of maintaining the playground will find that wood chips are cost-effective, low maintenance, and affordable. This allows them to spend their budget on other safety features for the playground. Wood chips allow for the foundation of playground safety to be built. From there, further additions can be made to ensure safety.

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How Do Different Playground Surfaces React When Wet?

How Do Different Playground Surfaces React When Wet?

There are lots of playground surfacing materials found in play areas, and every one of them reacts differently depending on the weather. Most materials become unsafe when rained on, and that’s why you should always avoid letting your children play in bad weather. Here is a quick overview of how rainfall affects the five most common playground surfacing materials.

SAnd

Play sand is a soft playground surfacing used in most parks, but it absorbs almost no impact when wet. Course sands become compacted after rain, and that makes it much more dangerous when falling. If your child jumps off of playground equipment on damp sand, then they will feel a majority of the blunt force. This is a big problem for playground safety because it greatly increases the risk of injuries. Sand is not an adequate absorber of force to truly protect our children when they fall on a sand playground.

Minimizing the amount of force that a child’s body takes on as they fall is the best way to improve playground safety.

Wood Chips

Wood chips are mostly used in dry climates because of its tendency to hold onto moisture. It has the same problem that sand has when it gets wet. The chips become heavier after a rain, and they are less efficient at spreading out impacts from falls. Wood chips can stay damp for days after a heavy rain, and you should check to see if the chips are wet underneath the top layer before letting your children play.

An important thing to note here is that we are referring to actual wooden chips. Not Sof’Fall’s Engineered Wood Fibers.

“The bigger concern is not educating the child on playing safer but teaching the people who build the parks what safety is supposed to look like.”

Cement

Understanding playground safety is very important when the play area uses hard surfacing materials like cement. Falling from standing-height can cause severe injuries on cement. Smooth concrete can become slippery after rain, so you should avoid running on it. Cement can also freeze very quickly in cold temperatures. Be sure to check for leaves, and look out for any other debris that could become a slip hazard while running.

Asphalt

Asphalt usually has more grip than other hard surfacing materials, but that doesn’t make it slip-proof. This material is mostly used in skate-parks and running tracks. Wet debris in an area after rain is the real hazard. Always wear a helmet when riding a bike, and look ahead to avoid any slippery obstacles. Even running shoes can easily slide if you step on wet grass clippings, so remember to keep your eyes open when enjoying recreation in rainy weather

Rubber

Loose rubber found in play-areas is almost unaffected by the rain as far as impacts go. It will not absorb extra water, and it stays relatively the same. Rubber padding for running tracks is another story. You should never run on rubber-padded walkways when they are wet from rain unless you know for sure that they are slip-resistant. You can easily lose your footing on rubber padding, and you’ll probably get hurt. If you get caught in a storm while jogging, then you should move off of the track into the grass. Always use your best judgment when determining playground safety hazards.

You’re Safer on Soft Playground Surfacing

Everyone wants to have a blast on the playground, and everyone can have a safe experience while enjoying their day. Use the helpful information you’ve read to ensure the safety of your family when you head out for fun

 

 

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

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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

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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

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Fun And Safe Playground Games For Your Kids

Fun And Safe Playground Games For Your Kids

Exercise is extremely important for keeping kids happy and healthy. Exercise helps strengthen bones, keep hearts pumping strong and can improve your child’s self-esteem. One of the best ways to encourage your child to exercise is to head to a nearby playground and get in on the fun. These five playground games are perfect for the entire family.

“All of these games have their different variations and go by different names but the important is that they are fun! More important than that, is they’re also safe.”

Even if you have a playground or park close to your home you may get there and wonder how you are going to entertain your kids. If kids don’t have fun while outdoors, they aren’t going to want to spend time there. We hope that our ideas can help you have fun with your kids and even help come up with new games to play as well. 

When kids get suffiecient time outdoors to play, create, and exersise it benefits nearly every department of their physical and nuerological development in a positive manner. 

Horse (or any other word you want to Spell)

To play horse, all you need is a basketball, one of the many playgrounds in Utah with a basketball court and your family. Each player takes a shot from wherever on the court they would like. If they make it, the next person in line must take a shot from the same spot. If they make it, the play goes on to the next player; if they miss, they get a letter “H.” Play continues until someone spells “Horse.” This same pattern can be followed for any word and like all games contains its own variations in rules. 

Doggy, Doggy, Where’s your bone?

An object, such as a stick, shoe, or even a plastic dog bone, is all that is needed to play this game. To begin, one person is chosen as “it.” This player places the object on the ground and turns around. One of the other players takes the object and hides it behind his or her back. The player that is “it” must then turn around and guess who took the object. If he or she guesses correctly, the “it” player must try to tag the person who stole the object. The running and trying not to get tagged is great exercise for your kid.

Treasure Hunt

This game takes a little bit of planning, but seeing your children work together to figure out the clues will be worth the work. To play, find several age-appropriate objects to hide, paper bags for the objects and papers with clues written on them to help the children find the missing objects. Hide the bags and give out the clues. It’s important that the playground has a soft surface for this game as children will get excited and begin running. Playground safety helps ensure everyone has a fun time until the treasure is found at last.

Monkey in the middle

Grab a soft playground ball and find an open area to play this game. To begin, have all of the players stand in a circle. Choose one person to be the “monkey.” The monkey stands in the middle of the circle and attempts to get the ball as the other players roll it on the ground or toss it above his or her head. Once the “monkey” gets the ball, he or she trades places with the last one to throw it. Kids all over Salt Lake City love this game because of fun and ever changing aspect of the game.

Obstacle courses 

A little competition makes playground games fun for young and old alike. Set up an obstacle course, which may include running and touching a tree, sliding down a slide or climbing stairs. Set a timer and allow the family to compete against each other to determine who can beat the course fastest.

No matter which game you choose, remember to wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water and a healthy snack. There are many playgrounds in Utah to choose from for your day of play, however, it’s also important to pay attention to the playground that you choose. Playgrounds should have soft surfacing to help protect your child should they fall. It’s also a good idea to check over the structure for any loose bolts or sharp edges to ensure playground safety before playing as a family.

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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