Joshua Barry knows that wipeouts are inevitable when children are climbing and sliding on outdoor play sets. So he placed shredded rubber under and around the climbing toys his two children use in the backyard of their Aurora, Ohio, home.
“It gives me peace of mind knowing there’s a little bit of cushioning,” he said.
Safety experts say it’s important to address the area around a swing set or climbing equipment. “Each year hundreds of thousands of children are treated in emergency rooms for playground injuries, and these are preventable,” said Dr. Brunilda Nazario, senior medical editor at WebMD, a health information website.
The key to avoiding injuries is adding surface materials that will cushion a fall, said Kate Carr, president of Safe Kids, a Washington, D.C.-based organization dedicated to preventing childhood injuries.
Asphalt and concrete are too hard, as are grass and turf, Nazario said, since normal wear and tear destroys their quality and absorption properties.
Good options include rubber mulch, wood mulch, sand, fine gravel or safety-tested rubber mat, which are more forgiving than grass and dirt are when a child falls, Nazario said.
How deep you should lay the ground material depends on what you use and how high the play equipment is. The U.S. Product Safety Commission recommends using at least 9 inches of mulch or shredded rubber for equipment up to 7 feet high. For sand or pea gravel, the commission recommends at least a 9-inch layer for equipment up to 5 feet.
Mulch – either wood or rubber – is a better choice than sand or gravel because it provides more shock absorption, said Rick Jess, vice president of merchandising for lawn and gardening at Lowe’s headquarters in Mooresville, N.C.
Wood mulch is less expensive than rubber, but it decomposes and fades and has to be added to each year, he said. Rubber mulch, which is increasingly popular, lasts much longer. It also is more than double the price of traditional mulch, he said.
“It holds its color,” he said. “It doesn’t wash away. It doesn’t decompose.”
Although cheaper than mulch, sand and pea gravel have become less popular surfaces for backyard play sets because they don’t stay put as well, added Ace Hardware’s Lou Manfredini in Chicago.
“With sand and pea gravel, it’s a mess issue. Sand moves around the yard quite a bit and can even get tracked into the house on kids’ shoes,” said the Ace Home Expert. “Rubber mulch has gotten quite popular over the last 10 years. It tends to look good longer.”
Regardless of what surface parents choose, Manfredini suggests first installing a weed protection barrier – a durable fabric that prevent weeds from growing up through the ground cover. He recommends against using weed killers near play sets.
Parents also should carefully choose the location of their set, Nazario said. She recommends shady areas where the ground is level and there are no low-hanging branches or wires.
Play set safety tips:
-Place the equipment at least 6 feet in all directions away from obstructions such as fences, buildings, trees, electric wires or laundry lines. Keep as far away as possible from streets and driveways. Consider erecting a fence between the equipment and traffic.
-Maintain equipment properly, following manufacturer’s guidelines. Check often to make sure bolts are tightly anchored, and cut off or cap protruding bolt ends, which can cause cuts or catch on clothing. Caps or nuts should be flush with the surface, with no gaps or spaces that could create a hook.
-Inspect wood equipment for splinters and cracks. It’s also a good idea to round off edges of wood with a sander. Sand it and apply a wood sealer according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Make sure hooks and chains on swings aren’t worn or too rusty.
-Don’t allow a free-swinging rope on equipment or trees. Loose ropes can form a loop or noose and strangle a child. Ropes that are securely anchored to the ground are OK as long as they aren’t frayed.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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