Safety Standards & Testing: Buyers Beware, we have Compiled your Checklist for Purchasing Indoor Playground Equipment. Read our “Red Flag” articles for the warning signs to look for when purchasing a commercial indoor playground to avoid injury and problems.
- WHAT ARE THE INDOOR PLAYGROUND SAFETY STANDARDS?
We use 3rd party testing labs approved by the CPSC (U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission) to provide to lead testing and fire retardant testing.
KidSteam can provide certifications for a number of European and US safety standards contact us for details.
KidSteam indoor playgrounds can be independently inspected by local licensed inspectors to ensure that your indoor playsystem meets local safety codes.
KidSteam is so confident that our quality meets or exceeds industry standards we will match any competitors written warranty and extend that warranty by one year.
- HOW TO BUY A QUALITY INDOOR PLAYGROUND?
KidSteam controls the soft play design, manufactures indoor playground components, distributes and installs the indoor play system.
Many companies in the indoor play systems space are not involved in soft play design, indoor play system manufacturing or installation of their indoor playgrounds. They may control only a few of these processes or in some cases none of these processes (front end website companies).
The indoor playground market is self-regulated. There are few 3rd Party government organizations that drive conformance to standards (NJ Amusement Ride Type Written Approval process is an isolated example).
Organizations looking to buy indoor playgrounds should ask manufacturers, distributors or installers to be able to produce the following documents and information. If they cannot this may be a “Red Flag” that the products indeed do not meet standard.
1. Standards Requirements. Understand what standard you are supposed to meet and write that standard into your PO. If you are in the USA the commercial invoice should call out ASTM F1918 standard.
2. Request a MFG Certification. If Manufacturer is not aware of what a “MFG Certification” is this means they lack either technical competency or not willing to stand behind their product. Make sure certification calls out the correct standard
3. Beware of Test Reports to Lower Standards – Some manufacturers in the industry are providing test reports that show they meet toy standards(ASTM F963). These products are not toys but commercial indoor playgrounds. These standards are for toys not for commercial amusement attractions. These test reports do no mean the product meets amusement grade standards. These test reports may mislead the buyer into thinking they are getting a product that meets standard.
4. Beware of Websites that look like Catalog Shopping Carts – Showing a nice picture of an indoor playground does not mean the company is the manufacturer, the company know’s how to manufacture the indoor playground (many of these companies are just distributors), nor install it. Ask the manufacturer for detailed diagrams, bill of materials or specifications to show they know how to make the design. Request pictures of multiple designs that have been installed.
5. Beware of Recommendations coming from Website Portals – These marketers are paid fees and commissions by the indoor playground manufacturers advertising on their sites. They are not independent consultants, but working on behalf of particular manufacturers.
6. Request to Speak to the Installer during the Sales Process – Many manufacturers state they have installers but you cannot interview them. KidSteam allows you to talk to your installer during the sales process. Installers are a very important part of your project.
7. Foreign Installation Services – Beware of claims to use foreign workers to come in to do the installation. These workers do not understand local building codes, cannot be insured, and do not have the appropriate legal visas required to do the work. These issues open up the owner to a number of possible legal issues. Consult your legal professional and insurance company prior to entering into this type of agreement.
8. Interview the logistics company – If you are buying a product from a manufacturer outside your country talk to the logistics company managing the freight. Are they qualified? How long have they done business with the supplier? Do they have local offices in your country? Can the manage trucking services from port to door? If you cannot get easy answers you will likely have issues.
9. Source Inspection – Can you visit the supplier location prior to shipment? If you are not going to visit the site are they willing to provide the bill of lading information, detailed pictures of your order being packed and the bill of materials – packing list prior to shipment.
KidSteam is a member of IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions)
We recommend that anyone making a buying decision for an indoor playground go to the IAAPA marketplace website to check out our competitors, their products and prices. We are confident that we can bring your organization the best overall value in the indoor playground market.
- WHICH INDOOR PLAYGROUND COMPONENTS ARE MOST IMPORTANT?
Steel Structure Components
Insist that your manufacturer use “new” materials not “used”. There are no standards for these used steel materials and they may represent a serious hazard. Request raw material specifications and destructive testing documentation
KidSteam uses only the highest quality “virgin” raw materials from galvanized steel pipe, galvanized steel fittings, and hardened set screws to make your indoor play system structure.
In addition, KidSteam designs-in extra steel into our indoor playground structures. Look for indoor play system structures that are light on steel framing, this may represent a risk.
Flooring and Upholstered Components
KidSteam manufactures its own soft play flooring, activities and events. KidSteam stretches our thicker PVC material and ensures that it is sewn and stapled in a way that keeps it sealed during and after installation into the indoor play system
KidSteam uses thicker MDF materials than others in the indoor playground market. This creates added rigidity, eliminates chances of warping and a longer lasting indoor playground floor.
We use a sealed foam product within our soft play floors that will not capture moisture and lead to the deterioration of the indoor playground floors and unwanted smells.
KidSteam over specifies the thickness of the PVC floor materials to further resist rips and tears in out playground floors. Our PVC is tested for lead and is NFPA 701 fire retardant. Please make sure that you receive lead and fire retardant testing from any perspective indoor playground suppliers.
KidSteam has developed new aluminum casted fittings that are stronger and longer lasting then other types of flooring hardware
KidSteam uses only knitted net material that is fire retardant (tested to NFPA 701) within our indoor playgrounds. KidSteam designs in only no-climb material up to seven feet on all our indoor playground structures. This netting comes standard on all our indoor playground designs. Some softplay manufacturers will try to save money by installing larger netting on the lower levels; this does not met applicable ASTM standards
Slides and Tubes
KidSteam tubes and slides are slightly larger(inner diameter(id)) and heavier(piece weight) than our competitors. More material translates into more strength and a longer lasting product.
KidSteam manufactures our own fiberglass slides and fiberglass products. We use “Dupont” automotive coatings for the finishes on our fiberglass products.
- WHAT ARE THE "RED FLAGS" TO LOOK FOR IN AN INDOOR PLAYGROUND COMPANY?
Beware of these 4 Visual “Red Flags” that an Indoor Playground Design does not really meet safety standards:
1. Slides exiting into Ball Pits – Most reputable indoor playground companies will not create a design that contains a slide exiting into a ball pit due to a number of serious injuries and a fatality that have occurred in the past due to this design. Frequent use of this design concept shows a lack of understanding and knowledge of these dangers and should be a red flag to a buyer that their designs do not meet safety standards.
2. Trampoline products within an SCPE – “Any use by children age 6 or under should be prohibited” – Quote from CPSC and American Association of Ortopaedic Surgeons. These injuries have been on a significant rise for two decades now. Soft Contained Playground Equipment was invented to reduce the major causes of injury to children on playgrounds. We concur with the experts that this activity is not appropriate for young children nor SCPE products and represents an undue risk to children and owner operators. Additional reading: Consumer Product Safety Commission.
3. Lack of No Climb netting on designs – Designs that do not contain “no climb” netting or mesh barrier from the floor to seven foot height do not meet safety standards.
4. Mechanical devices with lateral rotation – Many of these devices can swing and strike a child in the head or cause them to become off balance and then fall onto a surface from height which can cause head, neck and or arm injuries.
These 9 “Red Flags” let you know an Indoor Playground Manufacturer does not really meet safety standards:
1. Understand what standard you are supposed to meet and write that standard into your PO. If you are in the USA the commercial invoice should call out ASTM F1918 standard.
2. Request a MFG Certification – If Manufacturer is not aware of what a “MFG Certification” is this means they lack either technical competency or not willing to stand behind their product. Make sure certification calls out the correct standard
6. Request to Speak to the Installer during the Sales Process – Many manufacturers state they have installers but you cannot interview them. KidSteam allows you to talk to your installer during the sales process. Installers are a very important part of your project. Our lead installers are also certified ride inspectors and/or have many years of commercial contractor experience.