For communities looking to build playgrounds or families looking for a safe environment for their kids to play on, artificial turf is a great investment. Kids are going to be kids and obviously no play environment will be accident proof, however, with artificial turf and its FallSoft® Technology, the accidents will be less. Artificial turf surfaces provide a buoyant and durable foundation that you won’t find on a natural lawn or playground. That being said, some investors may wonder why artificial turf is considered such a safe alternative in comparison to a normal sod-based or word chip foundation. FallSoft® Technology is a big reason why artificial turf is the safest option when it comes to playgrounds. FallSoft® technology has even been tested and proven to provide protection and cushioning against impacts up to 9 feet, which exceed ASTM requirements.
When it comes to your artificial turf investment, safety is as important to some investors as the aesthetic appeal it provides. In order to identify the impact of FallSoft® in artificial turf, methods were needed to test and prove that such technology indeed provides a safer and more durable surface. ASTM F1292 is the standard used to govern playground safety surfacing. This standard was designed to ensure that all materials that are used as playground safety surfacing meet a minimal level of fall protection.
Below you’ll find some key information about FallSoft® technology and the high standards in which playground-surfacing materials are tested and held to.
The ASTM F1292 Standard
In order to develop the standard in which artificial turf safety performance is tested, there has to be scientifically proven methods and testing. In order to ensure that surfacing materials are acceptable, each must test according to the guidelines set forth in the ASTM F1292.
Surface Durability Testing Variables and Myths
• Head trauma is a main priority when it comes to testing playground surface safety. Potential surfaces were tested with a “crash test dummy” instrument, which was used to send critical information about the impact experienced to a hand held computer. Key measurements are used to determine safety performance and are referred to as Gmax (g-force) and Head Injury Criteria. Both of these values relate to the ability of the surface to reduce the force of impact, cushion falls, and reduce serious head trauma.
• The ASTM standard also recognizes that the ability of any surfacing system to cushion falls and reduce injury will diminish over the systems life cycle due to regular wear and tear, aging, UV exposure, temperature fluctuations, and other factors.
• Many people are under the impression that the testing associated with artificial turf playground surfacing is done only to prevent life-threatening and debilitation head injuries. Many think that as long as a playground surface meets the standards set forth by ASTM F1292 that their children will be safe should they fall on the surface. The testing is not full proof and this thought process is extremely inaccurate. The maximum impact thresholds set forth in the standard are designed to prevent only the most severe forms of debilitating head trauma.
Artificial Turf and FallSoft® Technology
Artificial turf, which incorporates FallSoft® technology, was designed with the safety of kids and athletes in mind. After years of research and development, and hundreds of tests in the field and in the laboratory, FallSoft® technology was strategically created to emulate real grass, yet is strong, smooth, allows for optimal drainage and is durable all at the same time.
The Technology – Keeping Kids Safe
• FallSoft® technology basically provides an extra layer of padding on your playground surface. The technology incorporates a water permeable safety pad that is installed beneath an infill system. This pad allows for additional protection against falls.
• By offering a fall height safety of up to 9 feet, FallSoft® technology exceeds ASTM requirements, and also help parents breath a little bit easier when it comes to their children playing on the highest of playground equipment.
• More durability and more padding on the surface means fewer abrasions and skinned knees.
• This technology also fights against allergens and pollen to give your kids a safer, cleaner play.
Parents tend to seek environments in which their children can be safe and thrive. Most of those dreams start on a playground. With artificial turf and the abilities of FallSoft® technology, some of the everyday worries of parents lessen when it comes to outdoor play. Obviously, these surfaces will not eliminate all accidents and skinned knees, but it will help to lessen the severity of those accidents and falls. From testing strategies, to turf installations, to seeing the durability in action, there’re endless benefits when it comes to the safety associated with FallSoft® technology.
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