Amusement parks with water-play features often see injuries due to riding operator error, defective rides, mechanical issues, and falls. However, one of the most catastrophic injuries that occur in such aquatic environments is due to tripping hazards and unsafe surfaces. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission confirms that each year, thousands of kids and adults suffer from fall injuries on pool decks, spray zones, splash pads, rain decks, or recreation parks, resulting in emergency room visits.
The operators of such recreational spaces have always struggled with an ideal surfacing owing to their playful and interactive nature. The combination of bare feet and the absence of safety surfacing can leave the users with bruises, broken bones, burned feet, and head injuries. The liability of such injuries often lies the theme park owner, the staff and the ride operator, the equipment manufacturer, and the contractors and subcontractors working on a property.
To solve these issues and make their amusement destination safe and enjoyable, pool and splash pad owners have been applying playground safety surfaces like poured-in-place rubber surfacing. Here’s why!
Rubber Surfaces Meet the NSF /ANSI 50 Requirements
Rubber surfacing is an ideal surface for aquatic environments as they meet the NSF/ANSI 50 requirements.
The NSI or the National Sanitation Foundation is a third-party certification group that works with various stakeholders to offer safety-based risk management solutions.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization that administers the US voluntary performance standards for products and systems related to recreational water facilities.
In 2019, the NSI/ANSI introduced a standard for the surfacing requirements in an aquatic environment. It required surfaces to meet six performance and safety-based requirements.
1. Slip Resistance
All surfaces of pool decks and splash pads should be slip-resistant and offer enough traction underfoot without being abrasive. The surface is independently tested using the British pendulum method that simulates real-world conditions.
Rubber has a high coefficient of friction; hence, it is known to have anti-skid properties even in wet conditions. The flooring is non-slip and prevents falls and serious injuries. Moreover, rubber surfacing is comfortable and non-abrasive underfoot, thereby preventing scratches or bruises when people walk barefoot.
2. Impact Absorption
An ideal water park or splash pad surface should be able to absorb the impact of a fall. The surface should achieve a Head Injury Criterion (HIC) of less than 1000 with a minimum fall height of 0.20 meters. It’s critical to keep HIC below 1000 (the ideal value is 750) as the probability of serious injuries increases with the increase in the value.
When a person slips or falls, the impact force causes serious injuries. Surfacing materials like rubber have high impact-absorbing potential. EPDM rubber molecules can reduce the amplitude of incoming shock waves, thereby preventing injury to the joints or tissues. These surfaces are specially designed to cushion a falling person, making them ideal for areas frequented by seniors and children.
3. Chemical Resistance
The surfacing material used should resist the aggressive and corrosive action of chlorine, algaecides, salts, and other disinfectants used in pools and splash pads.
EPDM rubber is a tough surfacing material that resists most of the harsh chemicals used to arrest the growth of pathogens and maintain the pH of the water. Moreover, EPDM floors are quoted with a special coating that can boost their chemical resistance.
4. UV Light Resistance
The standards require surfaces to be highly resistant to UV radiation without degrading the material or causing discoloration.
River Rock Resurfacing’s rubber surfacing comes with a resin (a polymer) that’s made up of long chains of repeating molecules. This lends the surface its tensile strength, flexibility, and resistance to ultraviolet exposure. Though the UV exposure can cause these resins to amber temporarily, it will not have any negative impact on color, resilience, or adhesion.
5. Ease of Cleaning
According to the standards, an ideal surface should respond well to cleaning and sanitization measures. Further, it should be inhospitable to pathogens.
Rubber surfaces resist the growth of pathogens. The specially designed resins used as binders further make it impossible for bacteria, viruses, or mold to grow or proliferate. This makes poured-in-place rubber surfacing safe and hygienic.
Lastly, the surface should be impermeable to water, sunscreen, and other substances.
Rubber surfaces are impermeable and can stand up to moisture. The surface is sealed to minimize its absorption of water and stains. This protects the subfloor from moisture damage and the excess water can be easily wiped off.
Rubber Surfaces Are Easy to Install
Rubber safety surfacing comprises high-grade ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber granules mixed with a strong urethane binder. The mixture can be applied to cracked, worn, or heaved surfaces made of concrete, asphalt, flagstone, and others to achieve a seamless look.
The installation takes 1-2 days depending on the condition of the subfloor. This means you get a seamless carpet-like surface in less than 48 hours.
Rubber Surfaces Are Super-Customizable
EPDM granules are available in a wide variety of colors. Further, the surface can be customized as per your needs and brand theme. You can either go for a single color or choose the speckled look to complement the overall look of the recreational space.
The River Rock Resurfacing team can tailor the surface according to your requirements. Get in touch with us for details!
Water parks and splash pads are the best spots to visit in summers as they are full of fun rides and water-play features. But besides ensuring a fun and adventurous environment for all, splash pads, pools, and water parks should be safe for use.
Safety is a prime consideration in surface designing for aquatic environments. That’s where rubber surfacing comes into the picture. Wet-pour rubber surfaces are durable and slip-resistant, making them a safe surface for aquatic environments.
If you are considering a resurfacing project for your pool deck, splash pad, or water park, talk to our team. We are eagerly waiting for your call or email!