Heading into 2020, we have the safest playgrounds for our schools and parks we have ever had. Children can run carefree without fearing unnecessary injuries, while parents and teachers can relax knowing that the little ones are playing in a safe area.
This is in large part due to rubber playground surfaces like poured-in place rubber and improved rubber playground tiles. Not only do these technologies keep today’s playgrounds safe, but they also make them attractive and cost-effective.
Playground equipment and the materials that go into making rubber surfacing have evolved throughout the years. Science and engineering continue to create more features that keep our children safe. Still, playground architects and school administrators need guidance when they are building these play areas.
That’s where IPEMA comes in.
We’ve written in the past about “What does it mean to be “IPEMA certified.” The International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association’s (IPEMA) Certification Seal for Public Play Equipment means that a supplier conforms to the play industry’s highest standards for safety and accessibility.
How IPEMA Helps
IPEMA provides certification services for play equipment and surfacing in the U.S. and Canada. This means they monitor the quality of playground surfacing materials intended for public play.
Nearly 25 years ago, 12 playground equipment manufacturers formed IPEMA to validate manufacturer compliance to the safety standards outlined in ASTM International standards (ASTM is the organization that develops and publishes technical standards for all kinds of materials, products, and services).
The original goals for IPEMA included:
- Make playgrounds safer
- Represent and serve play equipment manufacturers
- Provide members with information on economic and governmental issues affecting the industry
- Promote relationships with other related organizations to enhance the marketplace
For schools to have the latest playground equipment and surfacing, materials need to be supplied by a trusted and reliable manufacturer. IPEMA’s belief is that using products that are held to ASTM standards holds the manufacturer and the products to a higher level of quality. This helps customers select an appropriate manufacturer for their playground products with confidence and peace of mind.
How IPEMA Helps Communities
IPEMA sponsors Voice of Play, a website that fosters relationships between schools and the community with information about the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive benefits of play.
Voice of Play also has information about the latest in playground certification standards, as well as a forum to submit questions to the experts on play at IPEMA. The Newsroom area of the site provides helpful blogs on topics that range from bullying on the playground to creative ideas for playing in the winter months.
Other aspects of the website include:
Checklist for Access: This checklist provided helps owners of public play areas understand how to use the Department of Justice’s Standards for Accessible Design. The Checklist (which you can find here) has info about access route dimensions, surfacing requirements, play equipment ramps, and transfer stations for playgrounds of all sizes.
How to Choose Surfacing: Through research, consultation and collaboration with those on the front line of the playground industry, IPEMA published a surfacing guide to provide a complete source of regulations concerning proper installation and maintenance of all IPEMA-certified playground surfaces, including artificial turf, engineered wood fiber, interlocking tile, poured-in place and rubber mulch. The guide provides an overview of different types of surfacing materials, as well as detailed information on the installation and maintenance of materials to ensure both safety and access.
Play Pledge: Outdoor play is an essential part of every child’s healthy growth and development. As a parent, you can print and sign this pledge to make your child’s play a priority by creating a “play program” with your child. Make a commitment to ensure that your child has at least an hour of outdoor play a day at home and/or at school.
As an IPEMA partner, No Fault is proud to stand behind the safety and integrity of our playground safety products. The following No Fault products are certified by IPEMA under ASTM F1292-18 (Section 4.2):
- No Fault Safety Surface
- No Fault Bonded Rubber Mulch
- No Fault Safety Tile
Contact No Fault toll-free for all of your playground surfacing needs at 866-637-7678.
No Fault’s rubber safety surfaces bring beauty and safety to playgrounds, daycare centers, splash pads, pool decks, and theme parks across America.
Poured-in-place rubber safety surfaces (also called “PIP”) are popular because they give school and park administrators and others a durable, low maintenance, long-lasting way to keep kids safe.
PIP rubber safety surfacing is mixed on-site in a variety of colors to complement playground equipment or to integrate your school colors and themes. Installers can even modify the thickness to meet varying critical fall heights, which minimizes the risks associated with falls.
A newly installed playground surface should last for years to come, but basic maintenance is needed. The maintenance and cleaning not only preserve the integrity of the surface for safety, but also helps to keep it looking vibrant and welcoming to users.
To explain how you (as the proud new owner of a play area equipped with No Fault Safety Surface) can protect your new investment, read on!
Basics of Safety Surface Maintenance
The amount of maintenance and repair work you’ll need over the next few years will depend on the amount of use your surface receives. Most of the time, only small repairs are necessary in very high traffic/high use areas (underneath playground swings, at the base of slides, and at main entry points, for example). If you want to be proactive and prevent normal wear and tear, wear mats can be installed in these high traffic areas.
Remember, it is important to address maintenance needs at the first sign of wear. The longer you wait, the more expensive it can become. You don’t want to have to replace your entire playground surface, so some basic care along the way helps to keep your No Fault products performing as intended.
Here are six tips that should help:
- Perform Monthly Maintenance
Remove loose debris such as sand, dirt, or leaves that have collected on your safety surface using a broom, leaf blower, vacuum or water hose monthly. We recommend removal of debris on a more frequent basis if your playground is near significant foliage and prone to excess leaves collecting or growth alongside the edges. You may also use a pressure washer as long as you adhere to all No Fault Safety Surface Maintenance Guidelines.
- Remove Isolated Stains
Safety surfaces that are installed outdoors can become heavily stained in isolated spots. To clean these problem areas, wet them with a garden hose, then apply a full-strength all-purpose cleaner such as Formula 409. Scrub the stain using a 10″ medium-bristle basin scrub brush like the one pictured here:
You may need to repeat the process on extremely difficult stains. Stains may become harder to clean the longer they sit, so it’s wise to address the problem area right away.
- Clean the Entire Surface
In addition to removing isolated stains, you should also clean the entire surface from time to time. Again, you’ll start by getting the surface damp, then apply a mixture of full-strength all-purpose cleaner and water using a garden pump sprayer like this:
Clean a small section at a time to ensure you don’t overlook an area, which could cause streaking or a spotty appearance. Also, be sure to follow the directions included on the cleaner you choose. Once you clean the surface, rinse it thoroughly using a garden hose with a spray nozzle attached.
- Clean in Early Morning or Late Evening
Here’s one a lot of people don’t consider! In order to give cleaning products enough time to react without evaporating, it’s best to perform cleaning during the early morning or late evening.
- Use Recommended Equipment and Supplies
Here is a list of equipment and supplies we recommend that you use when cleaning:
- Broom, Wet/Dry Shop Vac or Blower
- Garden hose with spray nozzle
- Garden pump sprayer
- All-purpose cleaner in hand-held spray bottle
- Disposable rags and gloves
- Cleaning and rinsing buckets
- 10″ medium Bassine bristle scrub brush
- JOMAX House Cleaner and Mildew Killer (manufactured by Zinsser)
- Avoid Using Harsh Chemicals
The following chemicals can be detrimental to No Fault Safety Surface and could result in termination of the No Fault Safety Surface warranty. We strongly advise against their use.
- Chlorine bleach
- Hydraulic and lubricating oils
- Paint thinners
- Mineral spirits
- Heavily concentrated degreasers (e.g., Greased Lightning or Simple Green)
No Fault Safety Surface should give you attractive and safe surfacing for years to come, but routine maintenance will keep it in top-notch shape. Follow these six tips to help prevent costly repairs down the road.
Do you have an old surface already in need of repair, cleaning or resealing? Even if your initial surface wasn’t installed by No Fault, we are here to help! For more information on cleaning, maintenance or repair options, contact our office, and we will be glad to help!
Shawme-Crowell State Forest is in the town of Sandwich, Massachusetts in Barnstable County. It is a 700-acre oak forest that offers more than 15 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding, and camping.
Thanks to our partnership with John Hollerbach of Creative Recreation, they now have an amazing wilderness / forest themed playground area that fits naturally into the surroundings. Creative Recreation provided woodsy-looking Miracle play equipment complete with rocks, logs, a frog, and a giant snake (yikes)! At least this snake does not bite!
We provided and installed our No Fault Safety Surface in attractive blue and green colors to brighten the look. These colors enhance imaginative play as well providing the feel of transition from land to water. Wilderness lovers are really enjoying this imaginative playground!
No Fault works with Playground Equipment Reps all throughout the country who provide state-of-the-art, fun and imaginative play structures. No Fault provides and installs our No Fault Safety Surface rubber safety surfacing, which can include in-laid designs / patterns to match any theme. We can also provide other options to meet any budget including safety tiles, bonded rubber mulch, loose-fill rubber mulch and synthetic play turf.
Give us a call today and speak with one of our Regional Account Managers. They can assist you in designing the playground of your dreams!