What Is Engineered Wood Fiber?

What Is Engineered Wood Fiber?

From the time a kid learns to crawl, she has a surface upon which to play. She has no idea her parents make extra sure the surfaces upon which she plays is the cleanest and safest. The same goes when you take your kid to the local park or when they hop on the playground at school. They don’t know (or care) about the materials there, they just want to play.

“Parents should understand exactly what makes up the surface of their child’s favorite playground.”

Playground materials have to be two things: slip resistant and Americans With Disabilities Act or ADA compliant. It’s important for all kids to have soft playground surfacing. Engineered wood fiber meets that need. Here’s what parents should know about engineered wood fiber playground covering.

If you are researching soft playground surfaces then you have probably heard about engineered wood fiber. And rightly so might we add.

What Is Engineered Wood Fiber?

Engineered wood fiber is made from the 100 percent virgin soft wood at the heart of the tree. These soft fibers are cut to one to two inch lengths. They’re soft enough to cushion a child if she falls from playground equipment.

They’re also firm enough to enable wheel-chair bound children to play on the playground surface. Since they’re fibrous, rain passes right through them, enabling children to play on them directly after a rain. The wood fibers are then placed around the play equipment.

How Engineered Wood Fiber Works

A playground is usually covered with a layer of gravel for drainage and to prolong the life of the engineered fibers. A layer of landscaping textile is placed atop this to add to the drainage.

Because they’re fluffy upon delivery, the fibers will need two to six weeks to settle. In this state, the fibers aren’t handicapped accessible. Once it’s compacted, however, the playground will be ADA compliant. Playground owners can have the fibers compacted upon delivery, but it takes a little extra to accomplish. After that, though, the playground will be good to go.

Engineered wood fiber playground covering should be installed to a depth of nine inches for optimal benefit. The life of the wood fibers is estimated to be about eight years or more, providing proper maintenance is observed.

This constitutes raking the scattered wood fibers beneath the playground equipment. Topping it off with a layer of wood fibers is recommended to maintain a soft cushion upon which children can safely play.

Benefits Of Sof’Fall Engineer Wood Fiber

Wood fibers are ideal for playground materials due to not including hard parts like bark and twigs. They’re all natural and not chemically treated. Children can play on them without becoming ill. Other benefits include:

  • Easy on the budget with lower installation costs
  • Attractive appearance
  • Safer for children to play on as opposed to synthetic or other types of soft playground surfacing
  • Supportive of children in wheelchairs, on crutches, or using walkers
  • Fully tested and IPEMA certified with a ten year warranty and ten million dollars liability insurance
  • ADA compliant

Your Best Option

Children are amazing. They launch themselves off any available surface, tumble about, climb anything worthy of adventure, and fall often. Having something soft to fall on is what is most important here.The amazing part is that, nine times out of ten, they don’t break their bones. All that launching, tumbling, and falling is indicative of great imagination and the search for fun.

As parents, we all want to see our children having fun. It makes sense to provide them with a soft carpet upon which to have it. Engineered wood fibers were invented with little ones in mind. Superior protection is  the name of the game

 

 

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

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The Worst Materials For Playground Surfacing

The Worst Materials For Playground Surfacing

Safe playground surfacing is extremely important. Having safe materials for our kids to play on top of is essential to the effectiveness of any playground. Sometimes, good intentioned city planners are trying to make the dollars and cents line up just so there can be a park because they realize how important exercise is for children

“Don’t ask what these kids will be playing on, ask what they will be falling on instead. It makes you think twice about what material to use.”

Even with the best intentions, our children safety is not something we should cut corners on. Safe playground materials are essential to giving parents and children peace of mind knowing that they can play and still be safe. With that said, here are a few playground materials to avoid when it comes to building a new park. These are just a few of the unsafe materials for playground surfacing. 

There are more than one good option when it comes to playground surfacing. At Sof’Fall we strive to be the best option because we believe when it comes to where our kids play and their safety while playing you can settle for nothing but the best.  

Hard Materials

In the 20th century playground surfacing was made out of whatever you wanted to put there. This lead to a lot of dangerous playground materials being used. Hard materials include things like cement, concrete, and asphalt. Oftentimes (but not always) these tend to be a cheaper option but they are certainly less safe.

“Simply put, hard materials do not meet playground safety standards anymore.”

Hard materials provide the worst fall protection for our kids. Children are going to fall down and when they fall on these hard surfaces their chances for serious injury skyrocket. Minimizing these chances is what Sof’Fall is all about.

Dirt or Grass

We almost want to count dirt as a hard surface because of its total lack of fall protection. On top of this, dirt will eventually wear down and uneven surfacing will present itself. An uneven surface opens the door for twisted ankles, tripping, and all kinds of injuries. It is not an ideal playground surface. 

Loose Gravel

Loose gravel is a bad idea for a number of reasons. While it has a tiny bit better fall protection than other hard materials they are still rocks. They can be scattered and abused by unruly children and can be used to cause harm. Not only this, but loose gravel will not allow you to be and ADA compliant playground.

Safe Playground Surface Materials

Lest you think we are extreme critics and pessimists we want to leave you with a safe playground material. Engineered wood fibers are non-toxic, hydro-friendly, and have the highest fall protection on the market. If you are building a playground, look into getting Sof’Fall engineered wood fibers for the sake of your children.

 

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

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Falling Is All About What You Land On

Falling Is All About What You Land On

Like it or not your child is going to fall down. Kids run, jump, play, explore, and in the midst of of all of this they fall every now and then. Exercise is important for kids and the answer to them not getting hurt is NOT to take away their valuable playtime outside. The answer also is NOT wrap them up in bubble wrap and be a helicopter parent (although we know some of you really like that idea.) No, the answer isn’t taking away the falling. It lies within fixing what they’re falling on. 

“Children are going to fall down, scape a knee, and get a bruise here or there. We can’t take away their adventure… so let us do everything we can to improve what they are falling on.”

Sof’Fall is committed to helping provide safe playgrounds for our children so that they can still enjoy being outside, with all the falls that come with that.

 

Falling down is part of childhood. Sof’Fall wants to be there to catch our kids when they fall. Not if they fall, but when. Our engineered wood fibers can provide the safest area for you children to play (and fall.)

Safe Playground Surfacing

One our biggest goals can be summed up in three words: safe playground surfacing. Sof’Falls engineered wood fibers are one of the absolute safest options when it comes to playground surfacing. Sof’Fall has a 25 foot fall protection, the gold standard when it comes to playground safety. Having Sof’Fall there to catch your child when they fall is one of the best ways to minimize the damage that can be cause by an accident on the playground.

Landing on a soft surface

We work hard at Sof’Fall to make playgrounds as safe as we can. Their are so many benefits for children when it comes to playing outside that we cannot afford for parents to give up on the idea of taking their kids to a playground. By having the right, soft playground surface you can feel good about your playing on your local park. With Sof’fall, compaction of your playground surface is very important. When these standards are followed the way they should, they offer a great and safe place for children to play. 

When a child lands on Sof’Fall it doesn’t mean that they will stand up giggling and smiling. What it does mean is that when they fall they have a much better chance of getting back up unharmed. On top of this, Sof’Fall is a non-toxic playground surface that is made from recycled materials. It is a win for the enviorment, a win for the parents and most important of all, it is a win for the children. 

 

 

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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Tips For Playing Outside When The Weather Gets Cold

Tips For Playing Outside When The Weather Gets Cold

Your children need exercise, and autumn is still a great time for getting outside. When you are visiting your favorite playground, you will want to keep your children warm and safe. Here are some tips for enjoying a park throughout the autumn season.

Tip 1: Understand the Weather Conditions

Before leaving home, you should make sure to understand the weather conditions so that your children are dressed appropriately for the trip to the park. Layering is always a great option, so you can have your children wear sweaters or jackets over a T-shirt. If it is really cold, then bundle your children up in a winter coat, hat and gloves.

Tip 2: Look For Safe Playground Material underneath the Equipment

Children need to be playing outdoors. Just because it gets a little bit colder doesn’t mean that our children should stop benefitting from playing outside.

Choose a playground that has soft playground surfacing that can prevent an injury during a fall from the monkey bars or while running on the surface. In addition, the material should permit the proper drainage of rainwater or snowmelt so that there are no slippery puddles underneath the swings or the jungle gyms.

Tip 3: Watch Your Children Carefully

It is essential to watch your children carefully at a playground to notice any problems that can occur. Some of the issues that can happen include older children bullying younger children or having strangers in the area who don’t have children. For optimal playground safety, remain alert and walk around while your children are playing to avoid any problems, such as a kidnapping.

“The important thing is that we find ways for our children to be outside no matter what the weather is like. When the weather is poor, we will need to find creative solutions to help them be active and stay healthy.”

Tip 4: Unusual Dangers While At a Playground

Check your child’s clothing for any problems that can occur while playing on the equipment. Your child’s garments shouldn’t have any dangling strings that can become caught on the components of the playground equipment because it can lead to a choking hazard or other type of issue that can cause a serious injury.

Tip 5: Check the Playground Area for Broken Glass or Sharp Objects

If there are trees around the playground, then the falling leaves may cover the safe playground material. This may seem okay, but it is possible that there is broken glass or other sharp objects underneath the leaves. When you are preparing to visit the park, bring along a broom to sweep away the tree leaves to find any potential dangers.

Tip 6: Watch for Dropping Temperatures during the Autumn

Remain alert about the changes of temperature during the autumn. If the temperature drops, then the moisture on the soft playground surfacing may begin to freeze, making it difficult to walk and play on. This is when it is time to go home to enjoy a hot cup of cocoa and chocolate chip cookies with your children

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

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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.

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

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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

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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