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 (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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