Many children enjoy playing in sandpits. Sandpits provide a cleaner play area than dirt, and sand is easier to pick up and move from one place to another. Unfortunately, children are not the only ones who like sand. Animals also love the convenience of sand. Safety measures must be taken to ensure that the sand is kept sanitised for children's use.
There are dangers to having a sandpit. Even a cleanest box presents the danger of children ingesting the sand or sand getting into ears, nose and mouth. Consider whether your yard or play area is conducive to having a sandpit. Do not use a sandpit in an area with a lot of wind. Place sandpits away from play equipment such as swings and slides.
Many states, counties and cities have sandpit regulations for sandpits present in public and day care play areas. North Dakota Child Care Resource & Referral has rules for sandpits that encompass a variety of safety issues. Regulations focus on issues such as placement of the box, the kind of sand, coverings, drainage systems, inspection and replacement. These regulations help make sandpits safe for children of all ages.
Much can be done to practice sand safety at home. The most important rule of sandpit safety is to keep a lid on the box when not in use. This keeps animals out of the sand. Animals are attracted to sand and will often urinate and defecate in the sand which can be dangerous for children playing in the sand. Inspect the sand for contaminants before each use. Only use play-grade sand for children's sandpits; other sands can contain chemicals or other materials that may harm children if ingested. Sand should be completely replaced if contaminants get into the sandpit.
There are many benefits to practicing sand safety. Children are less likely to swallow harmful bacteria or chemicals when safety practices are followed. This allows parents and caregivers peace of mind. The sand will last longer if care is taken to avoid contaminants and to keep the sandpit free of water. All of these add up to a better play experience for children who play in your sandpit.
If these safety practices are not followed, sandpits can pose a serious health risk to children. If you do not feel that you are able to adhere to all safety recommendations regarding owning and maintaining a sandpit, do not use one.