Safety surfacing, by nature, allows kids to play on splash pads the way they want to play. But there’s more to the conversation than just facilitating play. How can safety surfacing elevate experiences by encouraging and inviting new kinds of play opportunities? How can safety surfaces by design create a more dynamic play space?
We’re back to our discussion about spray parks and play value! We’re going to start where we left off and dive deeper into the issue of spray park design, specifically surface design.
In Lisa J Lewis’s 2005 paper “Role of Splash Parks in Outdoor Public Recreation,” Lewis ends with her overall recommendations about how splash pads in general should be designed. She anchors this conclusion with the following:
There are many practical reasons to love spray parks. They’re less expensive to build and maintain than pools, they’re often free to the community, and they serve as a place to connect with neighbors and new families. Of course the main users of splash pads, kids, love them for a very obvious reason: they’re fun!
But how do you measure how fun a splash pad is?
Sizzle. The sound you’d like to avoid when wet feet touch hot concrete. If you’ve ever been to an outdoor aquatic facility in the summer, this problem is likely a sore subject. One of the most common complaints brought to us by operators is the issue of hot surfaces throughout outdoor facilities, specifically on pool decks, stair towers, and walkways. It comes as little surprise then to learn that concrete can reach temperatures hovering around 120°F, while rubberized surfaces can easily reach temperatures above 140°F. In one recent study, a rubberized surface was reported to be 170°F (X).
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) uses March as part of their awareness campaign to educate and expand the conversation around traumatic brain injuries, including helping the general public understand both the incidence rate of brain injuries, as well as how to support the brain community and their families.
Americans spend a cumulative total of 37 billion hours waiting in line per year. Nobody loves standing in line, especially at a water park, but a bad queue doesn't just bore guests: it leaves them frustrated and ready to leave.
Use the following tips to make any water park line worth waiting in:
There are likely somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 splash pads in the U.S., a number that is growing by an estimated 5-10 percent per year. A few seasons ago, we wrote a blog about how to design a splash pad and the best ways to make sure your splash pad, splash deck, spray ground, aquatic play pad, rain deck, spray deck, spray pad, spray pool, and spray zone stands out above the crowd.
While there are many lessons that can be learned from the Red Delicious, the lesson we’d like to focus on is when a product becomes the default for the wrong reasons. The best selling fruit should not, as The Atlantic put it, become “the largest compost-maker in the country.” [x] (My family used to go apple picking in the Hudson Valley every year. We never touched the things. Go for Empires or Honeycrisps. - Ed.)
The safety revolution that transformed dry playgrounds is long overdue for splash pads. We believe that creating similar standards for splash pads will reduce injuries and provide a significant benefit to public health, thereby creating a safer future for aquatic recreation, for our families, and for our communities.
From the beginning, splash pads have often been built adjacent to, or even on top of, public pools and wading pools, and so they have traditionally maintained the hard concrete “floors” of these pools. However, the practice of treating splash pads as a literal extension of the pool category is both inaccurate and dangerous. Even if splash pads began in the pool and fountain space, they have developed beyond those categories and now require a different set of safety regulations.
Playgrounds and splash pads are used in remarkably similar ways: children climb, run, and jump as they interact with play features. The major difference between splash pads and dry playgrounds is the presence of water. In other words, splash pads are simply playgrounds + water. As a result, they share some similar safety concerns.
Over the last 25 years, splash pads have appeared everywhere. From commercial water parks to public parks, these recreation areas have lowered water bills, prevented drownings, and provided exciting places for children to cool off in the summer heat.
Ultimately, splash pad safety standards should be determined not by superficial similarities to pools, but by considering how people actually use splash pads. Basically, kids treat splash pads as playgrounds. They walk, run, and jump on splash pads, they play tag on splash pads. The primary mode of movement around a splash pad is definitely not swimming, and the primary risk is a slip-and-fall injury, not drowning.
Summer is here! And while that may mean we here at Life Floor feel inspired to splash around in more aquatic-based topics to beat the heat, there’s also one particular thing that summertime means here in these Midwestern United States: construction season.
Here at Life Floor, we think a lot about splash pads. We design and manufacture splash pad surfacing; we play on splash pads, too, and sometimes, we even invite our kids. As our involvement in aquatics has grown, we began to notice something unusual: no one seems entirely sure what to call these things. There’s actually a pretty wide variety of names, including: splash pad, splash deck, spray ground, aquatic play pad, rain deck, spray deck, spray pad, spray pool, and spray zone.
Without cement, the world would be a very different place. The Romans used it to build and maintain their empire, it remains the material of choice for deep footings or foundations, and it simply can’t be beat if you’re building a hydroelectric dam. However, if you’re installing a pool and not, say, recreating the Pantheon in your backyard, there are better options available. Here are five good reasons to pick something other than concrete or cement for your in-ground pool deck.
Choose a pool that fits your personality and lifestyle: Perhaps you’d rather have a winding, lazy river in which to relax, or perhaps you'd rather spend your pool-time swimming laps. Infinity pools are especially beautiful and can compliment waterfront views, while adding slides or diving boards make your pool more entertaining and kid-friendly. In general, think about how you would like to use your pool and how you will realistically use it the most, and try to combine the two to fit your lifestyle.
Giving guests the option of sitting comfortably in the shade or lounging in the sun ensures that your guests will be relaxed and ready to enjoy a full day at your park.
Splash pads and spraygrounds are one of the few water features that show up not only in water parks, but also in municipal parks and even in private residences. Getting a sprayground to stand out against the competition can be tricky, but here are five simple ways to make guests' experience memorable for all the right reasons.