No Fault Safety Surface Is Not Just For Playgrounds!

Here at No Fault Sport Group, we are always talking about playground safety. After all, the complete No Fault Safety Surface System is designed to provide a resilient, porous and seamless playground safety surface. We believe that it’s the best rubber surface available for fall protection and ADA accessibility.

However … Let’s not forget that No Fault Safety Surface is a multi-purpose application. That means it’s not just for playgrounds! Indeed, its versatility makes it a great choice for playgrounds, splash pads, walking tracks, and perhaps a few things that you haven’t even considered.

If you need a durable, attractive surfacing material for indoors or outdoors, No Fault Safety Surface just might be the solution you’ve been looking for.

What’s It Made Of?

No Fault Safety Surface is a unique combination of synthetic EPDM rubber (ethylene propylene diene monomer) and TPV rubber granules (thermoplastic vulcanizate). A cushion layer of shredded recycled rubber goes on the outside. This “wear layer” is available in a wide variety of colors—you even have the option to create fun theme-shaped designs.

The EPDM and TPV components are held together with a polyurethane binder. No Fault Safety Surface is poured on-site by our professional technicians, giving you a seamless surface for endless applications. We install almost anywhere in the country, and our product is backed by a full warranty.

Okay … So Why Is No Fault Safety Surfacing Good For Playgrounds?

Our poured-in-place rubber playground surface provides critical fall height protection for children on playgrounds. This means the shock-absorbing properties of No Fault Safety Surface can help disperse the momentum of a falling body or head, thus reducing the risk of life-threatening injuries.

As the originator of the poured-in-place playground surface, No Fault’s clients include McDonald’s, Walt Disney World, and Universal Studios and many park and recreation departments across the country. Our innovative surfacings have helped to create safe playground environments around the globe.

Sounds Good, But Didn’t You Say It’s Not Just For Playgrounds?

To get some ideas on the wide range of applications for which our products have been used look at some of our recent non-playground projects. For example, The San Bernardino Juvenile Detention Center in San Bernardino, California used our colorful poured-in-place rubber surface to repurpose their outdoor basketball and tennis courts.

Speaking of basketball courts, here’s another one where our “PIP” rubber surfacing is making the game easier on players’ knees and reducing the risk of injuries from falls:

Are you thinking of building an all-inclusive, adaptive baseball/softball field fully accessible to special needs individuals, disabled veterans and able-bodied players? No Fault can help! Here are some pictures of accessible baseball fields that No Fault provided and installed our rubber surfacing for:

Take a look at our No Fault Safety Surface that we custom installed for decorative “knee walls” for a pool area in New Haven, Indiana. (A “knee wall” is a short wall, typically less than three feet in height, used to support structures.) Our customer loves it!

No Fault Safety Surface also makes excellent residential pool decking, as you can see at this installation we did at a private residence in Louisville, Kentucky:

No Fault partnered with Heartland Park & Recreation to provide and install all-black rubber surfacing for the Centerville Walking Track in Centerville, Texas. The results are outstanding!

And what do you think the folks at the Entergy Riverbend Firing Range in St. Francisville, Louisiana selected for their flooring material? You guessed it! No Fault Safety Surface!

As you can see, there are virtually endless applications for indoor and outdoor safety surfacing. It’s soft under your feet while remaining durable and weatherproof.  Contact No Fault Sport Group today so we can assist you with your upcoming flooring projects. 

Playground Tips for Children with Special Needs

Playgrounds are meant for ALL children. Parents and school administrators need occasional reminders that this means including children with special needs too.

“Special needs” can range from physical challenges to emotional, behavioral, or learning difficulties. This commonly includes things like:

  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Down syndrome
  • Emotional issues
  • Epilepsy
  • Reading and learning disabilities
  • Intellectual disabilities

These kids may need additional supervision and accommodations. Still, the benefits of play are just as important for them as they are for any other child.

Many of these benefits come from inclusive play with typically-developing children. Kids get the most out of play when they’re playing with other children with different abilities and skills. This means that special-needs children shouldn’t have their own separate playtime.   

The federal government considers inclusive classrooms to be the gold standard for early childhood education. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Education wrote a joint policy statement in 2015 which states:

“Children with disabilities and their families continue to face significant barriers to accessing inclusive high-quality early childhood programs, and too many preschool children with disabilities are only offered the option of receiving special education services in settings separate from their peers without disabilities.”

“Children don’t think of themselves or their peers as disabled unless we tell them that,” says Shirley Swope, parent advisor at the PEAK Parent Center, a resource center with services for families of children with special needs. “Separating or segregating children tells them they’re different from each other, and that message sticks making it harder and harder for them to integrate as they get older.”

Fostering an all-around, supporting environment means making sure similarities are reinforced. Including typically-developing children and special-needs kids in the same play groups gives them the opportunity to understand and practice inclusion, acceptance, and empathy.

Kids are naturally curious. Typically-developing children will have questions about how mental and physical disabilities work. Help them understand that everyone is different, and that special needs children deserve respect and acceptance.

Non-disabled children are often taught to ignore their peers with special needs. Or worse, they’re taught to treat them differently. So, instead of talking about how children with special needs are different, talk about the ways all children are similar.

A common myth about inclusion is that attention given to children with special needs will take away from typically-developing children. In fact, research indicates that typically-developing children make similar developmental gains in regular and inclusive preschools (Source). Typical peers can share what they know, modeling behaviors for special-needs peers and boosting their own abilities through sharing and demonstration.

When you’re supervising kids of different abilities, keep a watchful eye for bullying or mean-spirited joking. Since children with disabilities are commonly considered “easy targets,” you have to take steps to protect them.

Teachers and parents might consider using “buddy systems” on playgrounds. This is when a typically-developing child is matched to a classmate with special needs during play. The buddy system encourages cooperative play between children in inclusive settings. Select same-gender and same-age peers who enjoy similar activities. Typically developing children may require some training about the best ways to engage their “buddy” in play and how to interpret their behavior and communication style.

Aside from taking steps to integrate special-needs children into the overall group, you’ll need to make accommodations with your playground equipment as well. Common accommodations for special-needs kids might include putting a fence around a playground area, making sure pathways are paved for wheelchairs, and ensuring that equipment contains ramps and guard rails.

Whenever room permits, go above and beyond Americans With Disabilities Act guidelines and make pathways wider than 60 inches. This enables group access for all visitors while accommodating wheeled devices like wheelchairs and strollers.

How do you encourage inclusive play? We’d love to hear your ideas! No Fault Sport Group can provide innovative, slip-resistant rubber safety surfacing that makes it easy for all children to play together. We work with manufacturers to build playgrounds that emphasize safety, inclusion, and value. Please give us a call toll-free at 1-866-NFSPORT and let us know you read this blog!

“IPEMA Certified” – What Does it Mean?

What goes into a great playground?

A great playground requires fun equipment, engaging layouts, inclusive designs, and safety surfacing for creativity to blossom in a safe environment. For owner/operators and architects responsible for building and maintaining these great playgrounds, it takes making the best decisions about playground surfacing and equipment, which usually means working with vendors who are IPEMA certified.

So … What does it mean to be “IPEMA certified”?

The International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) Certification Seal for Public Play Equipment means that a supplier conforms to the play industry’s highest standards for safety and accessibility. IPEMA certification is a promise to customers that the play equipment and surfacing will reduce the chance of injury.

As a trade organization, IPEMA protects it’s members by keeping inferior, non-compliant products from flooding the market. Industry-sponsored voluntary certification programs can preempt the need for mandatory federal regulations, and as a result, IPEMA certification has kept government regulation of the industry at a minimum.

Let’s take a closer look at IPEMA certification and its history.

   

It All Started With ASTM

ASTM International, formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials, is the organization that develops and publishes technical standards for all kinds of materials, products, and services. The standards, which specify performance criteria, test methods, and safety considerations for playgrounds, can be found in ASTM F1487. If you work in the playground or park industries, you know those are the standards that outline “best practices” for playground equipment, fencing, and safety surfacing.

In 1995, a group of 12 playground equipment manufacturers formed IPEMA to validate manufacturer compliance to the safety standards outlined in ASTM F1487. The original goals for IPEMA included:

  • Make playgrounds safer and reduce related injuries
  • Represent and serve a significant majority of manufacturers of play equipment
  • Provide members with timely, in-depth information on economic and governmental issues affecting the industry
  • Promote relationships with other related organizations to enhance the strength and credibility of the marketplace

IPEMA originally contracted with Detroit Testing Laboratory (DTL) to certify public-use playground equipment. In 2010, DTL sold the certification portion of their company to an international technical services company called TÜV SÜD America, which currently manages the IPEMA certification program.

   

What is involved in Certification?

IPEMA certification means first verifying a manufacturer’s facilities and procedures. This includes calibration procedures, test procedures, testing equipment, conducting a site inspection, and confirming that the manufacturer understands safe playground layout. Next, the manufacturer must provide their own documentation of testing and certifications to show compliance. This means filling out annual forms, conducting an annual facility review, and showing regular product testing.

In 1991, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission expanded their Handbook for Public Playground Safety to include types of surfacing and their respective fall heights. In response, IPEMA’s third-party testing expanded to include safety surfacing suppliers.

Testing surfacing materials means testing a product’s impact attenuation (shock absorbency). It also means specifying a “critical fall height,” which is the “maximum height from which a life-threatening head injury would not be expected to occur.”

TÜV SÜD America conducts on-site random sample testing of Poured-in-Place and other rubber surfaces. The company also oversees supplier inspections, quality control programs, customer service programs, and on-site observations of surfacing installations.

   

Other IPEMA Initiatives

IPEMA isn’t just about certifications. The organization has other helpful resources for parents, kids, community groups, schools, parks and recreation professionals, designers, and equipment manufacturers.

For example, IPEMA sponsors Voice of Play to help improve the quality and quantity of children’s play and playgrounds. The website has information about physical, social, emotional, and cognitive benefits of play. It also includes a resource kit for parents and a section to acquire answers from play industry experts. IPEMA’s Safety Academy is an online education program that provides safety knowledge and important information to manufacturer sales representatives and other individuals responsible for playgrounds.

Would you like to know more about the certification program or any other IPEMA program? Contact IPEMA headquarters at certification@ipema.org or (717) 238-1744.

Also, if you didn’t already know it, No Fault Sport Group products are IPEMA certified. Our professional installers get continuous training to ensure quality installations which meet and exceed ASTM standards and customer expectations. Got questions? Contact us today, and we’ll help!

No Fault Project Spotlight: Sidney D. Torres Memorial Park, Chalmette, Louisiana

A ribbon cutting ceremony for Sidney D. Torres Memorial Park took place on Monday, October 22, 2018 in Chalmette, Louisiana.   It consists of 19 acres, and is the largest park in St. Bernard Parish.  Community members and school children came to celebrate the grand opening of this new, exciting park that contains several playgrounds, a fitness zone workout area, and a concrete skate park.

Hahn Enterprises, Inc. spearheaded this amazing project, and provided colorful, state-of-the-art Little Tikes Commercial play equipment, while No Fault provided and installed our No Fault Safety Surface for St. Bernard Parish’s first wheelchair accessible play area.

    

   

Guy McInnis, St. Bernard Parish President, stated “We are impressed with the quality of the Little Tikes equipment and No Fault surfacing, which we installed under the playground and fitness equipment.  The multiple colors of surfacing really give the playground added flair!

   

The fitness zone contains 12 workout stations including a rowing machine, ab crunch station, pullup/pushup bars, and our shock absorbing No Fault Safety Surface.

The new Gridline Concrete Skate Park is another great addition to Sidney D Torres Park!  It measures 150 feet x 50 feet, and has an 8-foot-deep bowl with multiple ledges.

    

If you are in the process of building a new playground or fitness area, No Fault Sport Group can help!  Our rubber surfacing products and synthetic turf are IPEMA certified and designed to provide not only the utmost in safety, but will add greater aesthetic appeal to any play area.  Give us a call at 866—NOFAULT, and our sales associates will be happy to assist you.

Too Old For Play? New Designs Aim to Help Aging Citizens Stay Active

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – legendary Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw

 

Thanks to a new trend in playground design, older Americans are joining their grandkids on the playground and keeping “playtime” going strong well into their golden years.

Think about it: Most of the time, grandparents can be found sitting on the benches off to the side while the kids have all the fun. A play space that gets young and old active and involved means everyone gets in on the action. Sounds like a great idea, right?

A recent article in GOVERNING, an online publication which covers state and local government policy issues, says we’ll soon be seeing more playgrounds “where aging adults can participate alongside their children or grandchildren.” The article says outdoor activity spaces designed specifically for older people have become popular in Asia and Europe, whereas in the U.S., the approach seems to provide a shared play space where the young and old can be active and involved together.

Senior-Friendly Equipment

Playgrounds designed specifically for the young might include monkey bars, seesaws, slides, and jungle gyms for the kids. For the older folks, you’ll see low-impact exercise equipment such as elliptical machines, stationary bikes, and resistance equipment that can build strength. (Note: as we’ve talked about before, it’s important that adults stay off the equipment that’s intended for kids!) You’ll also find walking paths that encourage cardio-friendly strolls with the kids.

In other words, “age-integrated play” usually includes fitness stations aimed at people 60 and older near the children’s area or along walking paths nearby. We’re not talking weight benches among the monkey bars—the idea isn’t to turn grandpa into The Rock!

So what is the goal? As we’ll see, the benefits can be enormous.

Physical Benefits

Exercise is one of the foundations of a long healthy life, and for seniors it can literally save their lives. Seniors are at high risk for serious falls. Each year, more than one-third of people age 65 or older fall. Many of them suffer moderate to severe injuries (such as hip fractures) that increase the possibility of a shorter lifespan.

Any exercise that sharpens reflexes, increases muscle strength, and improves flexibility can help prevent falls and related injuries. Since a fall can be physically and emotionally devastating for seniors, improving balance is crucial. Although recommend that the aging continue with activities that help develop their balance and maintain strength, falls cannot always be prevented. That is why it is so important to have a shock-absorbing and slip resistant surface like our No Fault Safety Surface covering the fitness area.

Large muscles support a person’s posture, contribute to the body’s metabolism, and can even minimize injuries in the event of a fall, so developing those muscles is important at any age.

The physical benefits include everyday benefits, too. Some outdoor fitness equipment can improve manual dexterity, making it easier for older folks to tie their shoes or open jars. It can help them increase their range of motion, making it easier to perform routine activities, like bending down and picking up objects they have dropped.

Other Benefits

Sure, older men and women need to stay active for their bodies’ sake, but they also need it for their social and mental health. Physical activity can increase confidence in older adults, giving them more control over their lives. Getting this activity in the fresh air and sunshine is better than doing it indoors, too.

Indoor gyms are not a bad idea, but sometimes seniors get discouraged when the gym is overcrowded by younger people who are more advanced in their workouts. The “no pressure” approach of outdoor exercise lets them approach fitness at their own pace.

Finally, combining fitness time with playtime for the little ones means spending quality time with the children in their lives. Good health and quality time with family—what could be more important?

Conclusion

Incorporating exercise equipment for seniors in your traditional playground design is a great way to help seniors set the example for a healthy, active lifestyle. It’s also a great way to encourage multigenerational play and quality time together outdoors.

Wherever adults and children gather to play, they are going to need a smooth, seamless, and slip-resistant surface like our No Fault Safety Surface. It’s ASTM F-1292 compliant, ADA approved for outdoor applications, and proven to provide fall protection up to 12 feet. Contact us today to learn how No Fault products can improve the appearance and safety of playgrounds for all ages.

No Fault Project Spotlight – Mary’s Magical Place, Hendersonville, Tennessee

Mary’s Magical Place is an all-inclusive playground designed to accommodate children and adults of all ages and abilities, including those in wheelchairs.  The park was built in memory of Mary Elizabeth McAuley, who passed away in September 2015 at the age of 14 due to complications from cerebral palsy.  Everyone who knew Mary said she had a magical smile, and even though she never spoke a word, she touched the lives of many people.  Through the coordinated efforts of the entire community, enough funds were raised to honor Mary’s life with this new, accessible play area.

 

 

No Fault was honored to partner with Recreational Concepts for this amazing project.  They provided state-of-the-art playground equipment for children of all ages and abilities, while we provided our No Fault Safety Surface to ensure the playground was safe, slip resistant, and easy to maneuver for both children and adults who use mobility devices.  Because wheelchairs cannot easily pass through loose fill surfaces such as pea gravel and mulch, playgrounds that include these surfaces are not easily accessible and inclusive for all children.  That is why a seamless, flat surface such as poured-in-place rubber was the obvious choice.

Mary’s Magical Place includes various pieces of equipment designed to challenge children’s social, cognitive, and physical abilities while promoting fun, inclusive play for all. There are even pieces of equipment designed for children in wheelchairs allowing them to play without ever having to leave their chair! The surface and layout of the playground not only provides the opportunity for children with physical challenges to participate in the fun, but also provides an area where parents using mobility devices can bring their children and participate in the play.

To learn more about this amazing playground and Mary’s story visit:  https://marysmagicalplace.org/.

 

        

        

 

No Fault can help you design a playground that is inclusive for children and adults of all abilities. We can connect you with our network of playground equipment reps throughout the country who can provide product information on adaptive swings for children with special needs, elevated sandboxes for children who cannot play on the ground, inclusive spinners, and much more!

Contact No Fault to assist you with the right playground design and safety surfacing to make your playground accessible for ALL!