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RISMEDIA, March 26, 2011— Each year more than 200,000 children are taken to the emergency room as a result of an accident or fall on the playground. International Mulch Company, a maker of safe playground surfacing for more than a decade, recently announced some helpful tips and hints for parents to keep kids safe while at play during the spring and summer months.

All of us with little ones enjoy walking to the local playground, getting some exercise and enjoying our time with family. Our children’s safety is paramount, and as time moves on more and more requirements are placed on how they play now as opposed to in the past. Thirty years ago there were no bike helmets or car seats, seat belts were optional, and padding was not made for any and every conceivable play option before us. Time and statistics have shown us that we need to be more diligent as to how our children play and how we view safety.

Nearly 70 percent of playground injuries are the result of falls, rather than equipment-related. In addition, recent studies have indicated that approximately 80 percent of all playgrounds have unsafe surfacing or ground cover and only 9 percent of home playgrounds have the proper surfacing.

“Installing a proper groundcover is an important step and precaution that parents and caregivers should take to ensure children’s playground safety—it has to do more than just look good, it must be safe,” says Mike Miller, IMC president. “By doing something as simple as replacing gravel or wood chips with rubber mulch products like Rubberific Mulch, NuPlay, or Re-Play we could help prevent or reduce the severity of injuries for thousands of children each year.”

The numbers tell the truth—there is no safer playground surface than loose-fill rubber mulch.

“Rubber mulch offers twice the fall height rating of its closest competitor. In addition to its outstanding rating, there are also fewer bruises, scrapes and cuts when rubber mulch is the surface as there are no sharp edges and rubber mulch will not compact over time—lessening its safety rating,” concludes Miller.

In addition to installing recycled rubber as your ground cover of choice for safety, here are a few additional tips for playground safety:

• When you first get to a playground, look down and then up. If you do not feel that the surface is safe, or see that the material is old or compacted, it may be best to find another area to play.

• Taking a child to a playground should be seen as active, for both the child and the adult. Some parents like to spend the time reading a book or sitting on a bench, but as we know, many children channel their inner daredevil when they reach the play equipment. Many playground injuries are the result of a lack of supervision.

• Find age appropriate equipment for your child to play on. Less than 10 percent of playgrounds have signs noting the recommended age for play. If you think it may be dangerous, it probably will be for your child.

• Remove hood and neck drawstrings from all children’s outerwear. Never allow children to wear helmets, necklaces, purses, scarves or clothing with drawstrings while on playgrounds, as it increases the risk of strangulation.

• Report any playground safety hazards to the organization responsible for the site.

• Find a park that offers the little ones some shade, as children can become dehydrated very quickly as the temperature rises.

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