More than 500,000 children a year are injured on playground equipment, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
About 150,000 of these injuries are considered serious, with an average of 15 children dying each year in playground accidents.
Three-fourths of playground injuries are attributed to falls, so choosing an appropriate surface is the most important playground decision that school officials will make. Obviously, the same is true when considering a surface for a play area at home. In fact, about one-fourth of all serious playground injuries occur in the backyard, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Children typically fall off of monkey bars, swings, climbers and slides. Surprisingly, children are more likely to be seriously injured on playground equipment than they are in bicycle or car accidents.
The Consumer Federation of America, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., wants more stringent federal standards for playgrounds that include requiring up to a foot of sand, wood chips or other cushioning material under all playground equipment.
Synthetic lawns generally have a backing of rubber or a similar material. NewGrass™, a leading artificial grass, has a primary backing layer of urethane and a secondary backing of polypropylene.
Combined with their durability and being “live” all year long, artificial grasses are becoming popular alternatives for many schoolyards. This is especially true where natural grass simply can’t grow in playground areas or has been worn down to the dirt through repeated use. NewGrass™, a top-quality synthetic grass, is installed with a layer of fine sand within and under the blades. This has the practical effect of keeping the blades lifted and looking fresh. On a play area or schoolyard, it has the added advantage of providing another level of cushioning.
Another playground culprit is the dust and dirt that a typical schoolyard can create, especially if its natural grass has been worn down. Ironically, a schoolyard with natural turf can also spawn allergens.
Itchy eyes and nose, nasal discharge, blocked nasal passages, sinus headache, sneezing, wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath are all symptoms of allergies caused by dust, mold, pollen, grass and trees.
Allergies have no cure. Prevention is the only course of action – trying to eliminate or minimize a child’s exposure to allergens. Another option obviously is synthetic grass. NewGrass™, for example, has fibers that are broadloom-tufted from high-quality polyethylene or a combination of polyethylene and nylon. Neither component is considered an allergen. In addition, NewGrass™ is there for the kids to play on year-round.
The Dobson Academy, in Chandler, Ariz. , chose NewGrass™ for several of its common and recreation areas for all of these reasons, officials said. They felt that the synthetic grass option was simply more practical, particularly in the dry desert climate and topography that was very unfriendly to natural grass.
The Arizona State University Children’s Campus Center, in Tempe, had NewGrass™ installed for similar reasons: the safety and health of the children they care for every day.