Information on play sand

Written by brenda priddy
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Information on play sand
Play sand is often made from crushed quartz. (sand image by Günther Castanetti from Fotolia.com)

Play sand is a type of sand formulated for use in children’s play areas. Play sand grains differ from sand used for swimming pool or the sand found on beaches. Play sand is an artificial sand created by the process of crushing rocks to a fine consistency. Since sandboxes and playground with sand bases are popular with kids, parents must be aware of the safety concerns and benefits of each kind of play sand.

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Types

There are two main types of sand sold for play sand. Traditional play sand is a small, fine-grit sand that is labelled “play sand.” It usually contains a high amount of silica, taken from ground quartz. The other kind of sand seen in play sandboxes is construction sand, which has larger grains that do not produce as much dust as silica-based sand.

Benefits

Each kind of play sand has its own benefits. Silica play sand closely resembles beach sand. This kind of sand is easy to form into castles and other shapes when wet. It is also easy to brush off. Construction sand, with its larger particles, provides a dust-free environment. There is less likelihood of the sand getting caught in body crevices. It's also less likely to blow in the wind and get into your hair, ears and eyes.

Uses

Play sand is used in a variety of applications. One of the most popular uses is use in traditional sandboxes. These provide a fun building environment for children. Play sand is also used as a cushion underneath play equipment such as swings and jungle gyms. Construction sand is also used for building projects and as a layer for swimming pools and other structures that require a buffer barrier.

Disadvantages

Play sand has a few disadvantages. It blows easily in the wind, which can cause the sand to scatter across a yard and get into ears, eyes and hair. Silica play sand is also very dusty, and some children may inhale it during windy days. Construction sand is gritty and can scratch the eyes if rubbed into them. Construction sand is also much less form-able than silica play sand.

Warning

There is some concern that the high concentration of silica inside some play sand can lead to an increased chance of cancer. However, according to Berkley University, the risk for cancer is almost non-existent because of the low risk of children actually inhaling the sand. Also, sandboxes should be covered when not in use to avoid the risk of contamination from animal faeces and urine.

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