2019, muti-purpose, safety surface, water play
In 2011, BREC Parks & Recreation System opened the water park “Liberty Lagoon” in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Not only does it contain numerous pools, splash pads, water slides, and a lazy river, Liberty Lagoon also offers swim lessons, water aerobics classes, and regularly serve up to 500 people per day.
No Fault LLC provided and installed our No Fault Safety Surface for Water Play at Liberty Lagoon when the park first opened. It’s a fun place for both children and their families to cool off on a hot summer’s day!
We recently installed our No Fault Safety Surface for Water Play to replace some of the surfacing at Liberty Lagoon that was worn due to a lot of use over the last eight years. One of the great things about our poured-in-place rubber surface is that it allows for in-laid designs and patterns in appealing bright colors. BREC wanted the colorful beach ball pattern in several areas on their splash pad to add an element of fun. The colors are so vivid that the beach balls appear to be three-dimensional!
We also provided our No Fault Safety Surface in a tan blend for the “island” that is located in the center of the lazy river pool. Poured-in-place rubber surfacing is unitary and slip-resistant making it an ideal application for water play areas. And, our very talented crew installed the BREC Logo in green.
Are you planning on constructing a new splash pad or water play area? Contact No Fault LLC. Our Regional Account Managers will be happy to assist you in designing your new water play area, or replacing the surfacing at your existing water park.
2018, bonded rubber mulch, loose rubber mulch, muti-purpose, safety surface, safety tiles, sport floor, water play |
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.
Some of our No Fault products are IPEMA certified (No Fault Safety Surface, No Fault Bonded Rubber Mulch & No Fault Safety Tiles). 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!
2018, bonded rubber mulch, muti-purpose, safety surface, safety tiles |
“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.
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.
Exercise is one of the foundations of a long healthy life. 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 can 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.
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?
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, unitary, 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.
2018, muti-purpose, safety surface, water play |
Are you confident that you’re making the best choices for your playground projects?
It’s important that you know the safety products you install are environmentally friendly and safe for kids. That’s why we at No Fault take great pride in providing rubber products that enhance playground and park safety – products made from the clean and high-quality non-toxic materials.
In the early days of rubber playground safety surfacing, a few sensational media reports claimed that recycled rubber might be too dirty or potentially contaminated with foreign particles. Today, however, there is no peer-reviewed scientific data that suggests recycled rubber poses any health risks to children, athletes or anyone else. On the contrary, more than 70 scientific studies conducted by both private and government entities specifically say otherwise, according the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.
Let’s take a look at how today’s most stringent playground safety standards depend on recycled and “upcycled” rubber and how manufacturers ensure that only the safest materials are used.
Rubber has been recycled and repurposed for many years. But the market demand in the last few decades — a demand seen in places as diverse as hospitals, agriculture, sports, urban infrastructure, parks, and playgrounds – has meant an increased use of scrap rubber. Much of this rubber comes from old automobile tires that are no longer functional. In most cases, old tires ended up in the landfills. Worse, many were dumped in lakes, vacant lots, along the sides of roads, or on public property.
Today, however, U.S. scrap rubber manufacturers recycle roughly 110 million tires annually. As it turns out, scrap tire rubber can be used to make reliable playground safety surfacing.
No Fault safety tiles, poured-in-place (PIP) surfacing, rubber mulch, timbers, and other playground safety products contain these “second-life” rubber components. These materials have undergone rigorous safety testing. This testing (conducted by state and federal agencies and independent, third-party industry associations) has shown time and time again that recycled crumb rubber and other re-used rubber poses no harm to humans, animals, or the natural environment. In fact, research shows no significant health risks are associated with artificial (synthetic) turf made from recycled rubber infill.
What is “Upcycling”?
No Fault’s industry-leading playground safety surfacing products contain mostly postconsumer content. And what exactly is that, you might ask? Essentially, it’s defined as waste materials that can no longer be used for their initial purpose. “Recycling” is a more common term. It describes a sustainable process that involves creating a new product from an old one (using old aluminum cans to make new ones, for example). However, recycling is often too expensive to justify the process. The next best thing is “upcycling,” or reusing one material to produce something different.
“Upcycling” is the process of taking a material that was already used for one thing and – instead of throwing it away – converting it into something useful. For example, we upcycle rubber waste to create high-performance safety surfacing. This waste comes from vehicle tires which contain traction and shock-absorbent properties.
At tire recycling facilities, industrial shredders use powerful, interlocking knives to chop tires into smaller pieces. Tires may also be shredded through a cryogenic process, using liquid nitrogen to freeze rubber until it becomes very brittle. Powerful hammers then smash the tire apart, and cryogenic grinding makes a fine powder of the pieces. Non-rubber components (such as steel belts) are removed and used for metal recycling.
The manufacturing process our products go through includes grinding and screening to remove stones, metal, fiber, and other materials from scrap tire rubber. This is an exacting process designed to meet rigorous ASTM specifications – as well as our own high standards. This vertically integrated, energy-efficient manufacturing process involves continuously testing and retesting products to maintain a high level of quality and trust. This process uses very little water and heat, plus scrap rubber is always reused to minimize waste.
The use of manmade safety surfaces on playgrounds has increased over the years. Rubber mulch and other No Fault surfacing products are made from recycled (or “upcycled” rubber) that has been thoroughly cleaned, stripped of any harmful metal, and remanufactured to create tiles, mulch, and PIP rubber surfacing that helps protects against falls and other injuries. If you have any questions or concerns about our world-class safety surface products, contact us to speak with a No Fault representative today.
2018, bonded rubber mulch, muti-purpose, safety surface |
You probably already know that poured-in-place (PIP) rubber surfacing is a popular playground surface choice for city parks and school playgrounds.
The reasons are many. PIP safety surfacing gives you color, designs and theme options that are eye-catching (to attract the kids) or that blend in with the existing landscaping (to keep the grown-ups happy).
But is poured in place rubber safe?
Let’s take a look at the facts and see how companies like No Fault take responsibility for one of the most popular outdoor playground products on the market.
What is PIP Safety Surfacing?
First, let’s look at the product, since different manufacturers have different names for their products and there may be some confusion as a result.
No Fault Safety Surface is made of clean recycled rubber and a decorative top layer made of virgin rubber EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) or TPV (Thermoplastic vulcanizates) granules held together by polyurethane binding agents. The type of rubber selected depends on the application, location and color selections for the project.
The sub-base onto which the PIP surfacing is poured must be at least four inches thick and have a gradual slope to promote drainage. These underlying foundations are usually asphalt or concrete.
The two layers of rubber are mixed and poured on-site in two layers: an impact-absorbing layer topped beneath the decorative TPV or EPDM wear layer (available in a wide variety of colors and patterns). After the PIP surfacing is poured, it is hand-troweled using guide rods, and then cured to form a unitary sheet of shock-absorbing safety surface.
What are the benefits?
The end result is a highly durable, permeable, slip-resistant surface providing cushioned comfort in an unconventional palette of color combinations.
Because it is a unitary surface, PIP does not move or shift around. This means your team won’t be constantly adding additional loose fill surfacing, replacing mulch, or fixing torn tiles. Cleanup usually takes little more than a leaf blower, though using approved cleaning solutions for a more thorough wash-down may be a good idea on occasion.
PIP also comes in different thicknesses, determined by the maximum critical fall height needed for your location. This ensures maximum safety for all the kids you are responsible for. Because PIP is a unitary surfacing material typically sloped to ground level, it is highly ADA accessible. This means wheelchairs can move easily over the surface.
Finally, poured-in-place surfacing is one of the most versatile, durable and visually attractive surfacing options available. The typical lifetime of PIP surfacing ranges up to 10 years, depending how much use it gets. Though there are other less expensive options, PIP makes the most sense for a long-term investment due to the lack of ongoing maintenance and longevity of the product.
So … Is PIP Surfacing Safe?
There are three questions that crop up when we’re discussing the safety of poured in place rubber surfacing with our potential customers. These are:
- Will it Protect Kids When They Fall?
- Are There Unsafe Chemicals?
- Do Recycled Tires Contain Metal?
Let’s look at each in turn.
Will it protect kids when they fall?
What goes up must come down, and no one knows this better than PIP manufacturers. Critical fall height (CFH) refers to the impact attenuation (or shock absorbency) of a surface material and is the “maximum height from which a life-threatening head injury would not be expected to occur.” Naturally, this depends on the vertical distance between a designated play surface and the protective surfacing beneath it.
Ensuring that a product meets the required CFH is best done via field impact attenuation testing. The added cost of field testing is the best insurance for your investment and for the safety of the children using the play area. Because most PIP surfacing gets slightly harder when it is cold, impact testing should be done on cool days to ensure the surface is compliant all year-round.
The complete No Fault Safety Surface System provides you with a resilient, porous and unitary playground safety surface that reduces the risk of life-threatening injuries. It is tested and proven to provide fall protection up to 12 feet (with a PIP depth of 6.5 inches).
Are there unsafe chemicals?
You can count on kids to put their hands and mouths all over everything, and (naturally) rubber playground surfacing is no exception. The California Integrated Waste Management Board commissioned the “Evaluation of Health Effects of Recycled Waste Tires in Playground and Track Products” study where extensive testing was performed on potential skin irritants and potentially carcinogenic chemicals that may be present in poured-in-place surfacing. Although natural rubber contains latex (a skin sensitizer), the tests showed no skin irritation as the result of contact with poured-in-place surfacing materials.
Furthermore, all chemicals in recycled rubber that could be considered carcinogens occur at concentration levels far below the level of one part per million (generally considered an “acceptable” level).
Finally, the study also looked at the health effects of ingesting of tire shreds and determined that it was unlikely to produce any adverse health effects in a 3-year-old child. However, since PIP is a solid surface product, there should never be any loose pieces of material from it.
Do recycled tires contain metal?
Tires used for PIP surfacing undergo an extensive sieve process to remove fibers and are then sent via conveyor belt to have any metals removed via powerful magnets and vacuums.
No Fault’s safety surface innovations in the playground market have set the standard for playground safety, accessibility, and long-term durability. Indeed, our industry-leading product offerings have directly influenced the development of two sets of product safety standards:
- American Standard for Testing Methods (ASTM): A body that administers a non-governmental, third-party certification program and tests for public safety. They certify a broad range of safety and protective products used occupationally and recreationally.
- Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): A body that protects the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from consumer products that might pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard.
That said, PIP products cannot be visually inspected for compliance; certificates of compliance simply indicate that the products will comply if installed as recommended. The owner of your project is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all products used meet applicable safety requirements.
Whether you’re planning a playground, jogging track, water play area, walking path or pool deck, our coast-to-coast installation service gives you consistent quality. All of our poured-in-place Safety Surface products are engineered on-site by a certified installation crew.
Weigh your options. Look at the competition. Find out why No Fault is the choice for parks and recreation departments, resorts and hotels, children’s hospitals, public and private schools, and theme parks all over the nation. Contact us today.
2018, muti-purpose, safety surface, safety tiles |
The Chicago Lighthouse is a world-renowned social service organization that serves the blind, visually impaired, disabled, and veteran communities. The Chicago Lighthouse wanted a safe, resilient, durable surface for their children’s solarium/play area, which was especially designed to accommodate youngsters who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise disabled. They chose our No Fault Safety Tiles that are perfect to use for both indoor and outdoor play areas.
We’ve written before about the importance of accessible and inclusive playground design. Today we’re going to discuss the importance of including children who are blind or visually impaired in your plans to build a better playground.
Playground planners who want to consider the needs of visually impaired kids don’t often know where to start. They don’t know how to make the play experience open to everyone. All too often, they assume it will require expensive specialized equipment or that accommodations will somehow exclude kids who aren’t vision impaired.
On the other hand, when playground designers adhere too strictly to the minimum requirements put forth by proponents of inclusive play, they may forget to emphasize the things that make great playground experiences to begin with – namely, that they be engaging, stimulating, and fun for all children.
There’s no doubt that you can create challenging and creative playscapes that are accessible to children with disabilities (including the vision-impaired). You’ll also find that doing so is compatible with goals to create opportunities for play that benefit children of all abilities.
What’s at Stake?
For all children, playtime is crucial for the development of motor, social, and language skills. It’s also an important driver of good fitness habits early in life. Too often, kids who are visually impaired do not experience the same opportunities for recreation enjoyed by their peers.
Here are a few pointers to turn that trend around on your playground.
- Make play “hands-on.” Remember, kids who are blind or visually impaired “see” with their hands. Tactile elements will help the child get a sense of “place.” For example, one mom incorporates braille signs on her sons’ playground equipment. Consider using grooved surfacing to help kids find their way around. Rubber timbers with rounded tops can provide extra safety and path-marking.
- Set boundaries. Make sure the perimeters of the playground are easy to find. It’s a good idea to have the entire playground area “fenced in” for safety reasons. However, some children who are visually impaired like to “trail” along the inside of a fence, too. So here you have an opportunity to “dress up” the inside of the fence with things for them to explore through touch.
- Make the ground “speak.” No matter the age or ability of the children at your playground, it’s always smart to have No Fault Safety Surface underfoot to help protect kids from falls – especially under areas where there are potential fall hazards. However, delineating certain areas of play with different surface types could also serve to indicate where certain play opportunities (and risks) can be found. For example, the area around a swing set could have a different material in the area where kids need to be careful to avoid a collision. For children who are blind, that detectable change in ground surfacing material would serve as their “cue” that kids are swinging nearby. This lets them know to be careful.
- Incorporate sound. Remember: Great playground design appeals to all of a child’s senses. Musical instruments and other auditory stimuli are an excellent idea for an accessible playground. These days you can get beeper balls, balls with bells, goal locators with sound, and other adapted play equipment that can make playground time more accessible to children with visual impairments. If that’s beyond your budget, permanently installed, percussive musical instruments can mount onto existing play structures. Not only are they fun to play, but their locations can also create audible landmarks for kids as they familiarize themselves or travel from one play area to the next.
- Use visual clues. Don’t forget to accommodate children who have some ability to see. For example, bright yellow tape might clearly mark the edges of steps and anywhere else a child can accidentally step off. You may also consider painting playground equipment in bright colors that make it easier for kids with low vision to identify from a distance.
The barriers that children with disabilities are confronted with daily should not prevent them from engaging in playground activities. Schools and local communities are responsible for making play areas available to all – doing so may simply require some creativity and community input. No Fault Surfaces can help you create an inclusive play area that emphasizes safety, inclusion and value. Contact us today!