Playing in the sand isn’t just for the beach, but if you’re setting up a backyard standbox for your young sandcastle engineers you should keep a few safety tips in mind. The American Academy of Pediatrics‘ Healthy Children website offers the following advice to keep your kids safe in the sandbox.
Let’s start with the frame. Resist the urge to use inexpensive railroad ties. They may be an economical choice, but they can also cause splinters and could contain cresote, a toxic commercial wood preservative. Instead, use landscaping timbers or a plastic sandbox. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, make sure you add drainage holes to your homemade sandbox. Wet sand isn’t much fun and can become a breeding ground for insects and bacteria.
Once you have the right frame or container, be sure to fill it with safe sand. Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission doesn’t have any official concerns, Healthy Children recommends avoiding any sand that includes tremolite. Tremolite is a recognized form of asbestos, but companies don’t have to disclose it on their labels.
Healthy Children recommends using only natural river sand or beach sand and avoiding products made from crushed limestone, marble, or quartz (crystalline silica).
Now you’re all set for some safe, sandy summer fun, but don’t forget to follow these steps to keep it clean:
- Remember insects and animals love the sand, too. Cover your sandbox when it’s not in use.
- On a similar note, don’t let pets play in your sandbox; they may mistake it for a litter box.
- Wet sand can harbor bacteria. If your sand gets wet, be sure to let it dry out before you cover the sandbox.
- Sand should be raked periodically to remove debris, clumps, or other material.