Keep Your Kids Safe and Sound on the Playground

Maintaining the health and happiness of a child is one of the most important jobs for a parent and instilling the habit of exercise in a child early on in life is something that can benefit them throughout the course of their life.  Just as important as exercising the body is exercising the mind, as social skills and problem solving abilities are what will help them navigate successfully through schooling and careers. One of the best ways to get a jump on both of these things is spending time on a playground, which educates and exercises your children.

Thin, Noticeable XLPE Protective Foam

Thin, Noticeable XLPE Protective Foam

Like any activity involving children, safety is the largest concern. Unfortunately for parents and their nerves, the activities children seem to enjoy most are climbing higher, going faster and venturing farther. Naturally, these are the things that result in injuries. It’s impossible to eliminate the risk of injury for children, as they learn about the world around them, sometimes the hard way. This is especially true on playgrounds, but it’s still important to take every precaution to ensure their safety as best possible. With an inventory of cushioning and impact-absorbing child safety products, The Foam Factory can help you be sure that your child gets the most out of his or her playtime.

Usually built of metal, wood or plastic, playground sets, both public and backyard, need to be rigid and strong to support the activity and weight of playing children. To provide this strength, playground materials are rigid and unforgiving; certainly not something you want to bump an elbow or head on. To soften and protect rails and beams that get closer to your child every day as they grow bigger, The Foam Factory manufactures neoprene foam sheeting for wrapping around any hard surface or sharp edge. Able to be cut in thicknesses from 1/8 of an inch to 2 inches, you can select the material size that’s perfect for your setup. These wraps are particularly useful to use around overhead doorway beams where kids enter into the play area areas or on a cross-beam located over the exit to the slide. For multi-story play areas, the ceiling of the ground floor may have the joists from the floor above exposed, and padding these is another smart safety option.

Many play areas are also joined by swing sets, with their frames often being built into the rest of the play set. This makes for plenty of excited, distracted and fast-moving children zipping by support poles. When in “play-mode,” a kid isn’t going to objectively calculate if he or she has enough clearance to sprint under an angled pole or avoid banging elbows, knees or toes. Wooden sets have the added danger of four potentially sharp edges on every beam and metal sets, while usually round, are  harder.  By using a full sheet of neoprene, measuring 48 by 80 inches, foam bumpers can encase these support poles up to a height of more than six feet. Using a foam pole bumper is smart for other for other structures as well, like monkey bars or tetherball poles. To protect smaller areas, half sheets measuring 24 by 80 inches are also available.

A closed-cell foam, neoprene is water resistant, helping it stand up to the elements and not rot, mold or grow mildew. Whether wrapped around a support pole or attached to a single part of a play set, this safety foam can be installed in numerous ways. Sheets can be secured to the structure with straps, waterproof tape or even adhered with special spray adhesive, also stocked by The Foam Factory. If there are parts of railings or joists that won’t be open to activity, a playground pad can also be screwed or bolted directly into the set with washers for a permanent installation.

Protective ground elements are also vital in protecting children around the playground. A hard blacktop and asphalt playground surface is unforgiving and the damage from a tumble can stretch from a scraped knee to broken bones or something even more serious. Mulch is a more forgiving material but use quickly moves it away from high traffic areas, and it can also poke or leave splinters. It’s also susceptible to floating to different areas during a heavy, hard rain. Sand will be tracked everywhere a child goes after playing and isn’t stable for children to move on. As an alternative to these treatments, The Foam Factory offers closed-cell gym rubber and neoprene foam, both in sheets or cut into interlocking tile forms to provide soft and safe playground mats.

Durable Closed-Cell Gym Rubber

Durable Closed-Cell Gym Rubber

Both foams are excellent at absorbing shock and impact, while providing the firmness needed for children to confidently run and move on the material.  These moisture resistant products can be cut in solid thicknesses up to 2 inches, and thicker sections can also be made by laminating sheets together. Outdoor foam is excellent to put under swings where the ground gets compacted by constant use and also at the bottom of slides, where children hit the ground at high speeds. Polyethylene has a resilient skin that can hold up to impact but still provides cushion with a softer interior. The Foam Factory is also able to produce interlocking tiles that can be added or removed to create temporary play space or used to form padding for irregularly shaped areas. And when provided with precise dimensions and measurements, The Foam Factory can create cutouts in certain tiles using their computer controlled waterjet cutter for fitting pads around support poles and foundations easily. This foam padding can nearly eliminate skinned knees and scraped elbows and greatly reduce the potential of serious injuries from falls due to its cushioning nature.

Playgrounds and play sets are great ways for kids to productively have fun while developing and growing. With an eye toward safety and with The Foam Factory’s padding materials and manufacturing capabilities, playtime can be made to be very safe as well.

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