Most parents like the idea of a sandbox to promote the physical, cognitive and social development skills of their child or children; sandbox however, a major concern underlying the use of a kid’s sandbox is the basic safety of the child. Before making the sandbox purchase, consider these three decisions in protecting the health of your child: (1) the right sand type, (2) the border materials, and (3) a proper bottom and cover.
Select the right sand type
Many companies have precautions on sand packaging warning of the possibly harmful effects of crystalline silica exposure. Some of these sands are labeled for use in sandboxes. The inhalation of fine silica dust particles has been known to lead to cancer tumors in workers, such as sand blasters, who work with sand components daily and for long periods of time. The finer the sand, the greater the inhalation. The airborne small particles are the ones that get into the lungs and can cause problems. Although children spend considerably less time in a sandbox and inhalation is not as great a factor, nevertheless, the best way to avoid this problem is to choose relative coarse sand with not much dust. Fine or dusty sand becomes a problem when children throw sand into the wind or simply throw sand. An added advantage of using the more coarse grain sand is that it will not stick as easily to little hands and be transferred to their eyes. Also, coarser sand is more easily removed from clothing and is tracked less from the sandbox into the home.
Choose border materials without toxic chemicals
The materials in the sandbox borders are crucial for safety. Options include plastic and wood. Sturdy plastic timbers for sandboxes are splinter and toxic free for safety. An added benefit of plastic timbers is no warping or rotting. Wood, if treated, should be treated with materials for durability but the treatment should not be harmful to humans. Untreated cedar and redwood are durable woods for sandboxes. Most sandbox and lumber manufacturers list these treated characteristics but if they do not, then ask. Railroad ties should not be used as the border material for sandboxes. Railroad ties are treated with creosote that is not safe for children or adults. Creosote can be absorbed into the body through physical contact and is listed a human carcinogen.