Receiving the John Preston Award for Child Safety

Receiving the John Preston Award for Child Safety

May 01st, 2014

Dalton, GA — The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) recently issued their annual John Preston Award given to a group or organization that has made a difference in creating S.A.F.E. play areas for children. This year’s award went to the Blue Springs School District in Blue Springs, Missouri.

image of blue springs school district playground

Blue Springs was concerned enough about ongoing nurses visits by students to pursue alternatives to their existing surfacing. During 2011-2012, one school reported 11 breaks and sprains and 20 visits to the nurse for complaints regarding mulch in the eyes. During 2012-2013 with the help of staff members like Dan Anderson (Director of Building and Grounds), Kelly Flax (Principal), Currie Trumble (school nurse) and Dr. Bill Cowling (Assistant Superintendent), the school launched a pilot test program and installed one area of SYNLawn artificial grass and kept one area with their standard mulch surfacing to compare how each play area influenced injuries.

The results of the synthetic turf area far surpassed the mulched areas and resulted in 20% fewer injuries and as a side benefit, 15% more overall play time due to the grass not retaining water from rain and snow. So overwhelming was the evidence, instead of waiting two years as planned, the Missouri school district moved quickly to replace more than 33 playgrounds within the 12 schools in the district with the safer, SYNLawn Play System.

The beauty of the SYNLawn Play System is that it complies with ASTM F1292 and is IPEMA certified which meets fall attenuation heights of up to 10 feet. Local SYNLawn Authorized Supplier, Turf etc was excited to be part of the solution. “We used a combination of SYNBermuda Premium 220, SYNTipede Platinum 322 and SYNLawn’s exclusive “Trample Zones” to meet the needs of each school”, explained Angela Grego, owner of Turf etc. “The administrators were astonished at the radical decline in the number of kids going to see the nurse.

“The Blue Springs School District prides itself on safety”, stated Dr. Bill Cowling, Assistant Superintendent. “We believe that the students should be able to focus on their learning and we work hard to find distractions to that process before they even occur. A playground that is safe promotes student achievement. Thank you for this recognition. We are very proud to be recipients of the John Preston Playground Safety Award.”