Is Some Sand Safer Than Others?

Healthy Child:

With the weather warming up, children will once again be digging into backyard sandboxes and flocking to neighborhood parks. So, it’s a good time to refresh your knowledge about keeping your kids safe when they’re outside playing – especially when it comes to safety risks that are not so obvious – as in the case of sand.

According to our book:

Some play sand used in sandboxes and around swing sets contains tremolite (a form of asbestos) or very fine crystalline silica; the most dangerous of these is made from crushed quarry rock. The kind of sand you want in your box – the safest and most natural – is washed beach or river sand that is fairly granular, not powder-fine. For years, manufacturers of toy sand have successfully lobbied the Consumer Product Safety Commission to keep labeling to indicate its source off of sand, so it’s difficult to gauge safety by looking at the bag. Don’t buy sand unless the manufacturer can assure you that it consists of beach or river sand, and that it’s not quarry rock.

Protect your child’s health by following these easy tips:

  1. If you’re buying sand, call the manufacturer to find out the source of the product as mentioned above. Also, look for the California Proposition 65 Warning. The State of California requires a warning label on play sand containing crystalline silica.
  2. Call your local park and recreation office to find out where they get their sand. Do the same with your child’s school and/or child care facility.
  3. If you’re unsure of the type of sand, be sure to supervise children to make sure they are not putting their hands in their mouths or throwing sand (which kicks up the finest dust particles).
  4. Wash your child’s hands after playing in sand.
  5. If you have a sandbox, keep it covered when you’re not using it to keep animals out. (You don’t want them “doing their business” where your child plays.)

All in all – just be aware. Dirt is good. Play is good. Exercise is very good. Don’t let worries about sand outweigh the benefits of an afternoon at the park.

Do you take any precautions at playgrounds? How about in your own backyard?

Find Out More:

Pick up a copy of our book, Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home, today! Our easy-to-read guide outlines simple steps and credible advice to protect your child’s health and development.