By Chris Oberholtz, Multimedia Producer and Nima Shaffe, News Reporter for kctv5.com
BLUE SPRINGS, MO (KCTV) – When students return to school in Blue Springs on Wednesday, recess will be safer and hopefully a little cleaner after a new surface is installed on school playgrounds.
When it comes to playgrounds and safety of children in the Blue Springs School District, one could say they are one-step ahead in trying to eliminate safety hazards on the playground.
The district has selected one elementary school to serve as a pilot for a new playground material they hope will prove to be safer than what they had in place before.
“When you have mulch, and you have kindergarten and first-grade students that are playing on playgrounds, a windy day, students kicking some mulch around we do have problems with students getting mulch debris in their eyes,” Thomas Ultican Elementary School principal Kelly Flax said.
Flax said with this product they hope to eliminate that little bit of a safety concern.
“In reality have kids having more time on the playground having fun,” he said.
The product is called SYNLawn. It is 100-percent flame retardant and is actually 20 percent cooler than shredded rubber playgrounds.
The best part Flax said is that more kids will be able to enjoy the playground. The new SYNLawn turf makes the playgrounds ADA accessible, allowing kids with handicaps to play on the equipment. This was something that was hard to do when the school had mulch.
Flax says the turf is not only cleaner than having mulch but safer, as it cushions the fall for kids if they fall while playing on the equipment.
“What they have done on this product is they have reinforced those high access areas or high trampled areas with a product that doesn’t allow for the mulch to move or the turf to move. So in essence, you eliminate any type of safety concerns because you have the same consistency throughout the playground,” Flax said.
Since the elementary school is piloting the new SYNLawn, it could take another year or two before other schools in the district decide to install this turf on their playgrounds.
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