Awards

Congratulations to the 2014 Playground Safety Award Winners!

Ahren's Playground Safety Advocate of the Year Award

The Ahren's Playground Safety Advocate of the Year Award is given by the National Program for Playground Safety to an individual that has displayed outstanding effort to provide playground safety for children.

The Ahrens Playground Safety Advocate of the Year is given to an individual who has made many contributions to playground safety.  George Sushinsky is the individual who was chosen this year.  George was a mechanical engineer with a B.S. from Notre Dame and an M.S. from University of Maryland. He worked for CPSC from 1984 to 2005, helped to oversee the CPSC playground surface testing which was revealed in the CPSC Public Use Handbook and the Home Playground Handbook.  He started working on surfacing in 1997, while surface testing actually started in the late 70’s at the National Bureau of Standards (now NIST) and continued in the 80’s at CPSC. He serves on the ASTM surfacing task group that did a major revision of F1292 in 2004 that resulted in greatly improve test (+/- 10% vs +/- 5-10% precision). He is a longtime member of ASTM and serves on 17 F15 subcommittees.  He has been chair of F08.63, surfacing subcommittee, since May of 2008.  In addition, George serves on the Rockville, MD Recreation and Parks advisory board and provides guidance on playground issues and youth sports, and advises the City of Rockville staff regarding surfacing issues.  The city is changing from loose-fill materials to poured-in-place materials.  They will start a comprehensive evaluation of the surfacing properties during this spring of 2014. 

As an advocate for safe play areas, George has made a difference I numerous children’s lives throughout the country.  Congratulations to George for being named the 2014 Ahrens Playground Safety Advocate of the Year.

John Preston Playground Safety Award

The John Preston Safe Playground Award is given by the National Program for Playground Safety to a group that has displayed outstanding effort to provide playground safety for children.

This year’s award goes to the Blue Springs School District in Blue Springs, Missouri.  During 2011-2012, one school had 11 breaks and sprains and 5 who needed medical attention due to mulch in the eyes. Twenty visited the nursed from mulch in the eyes.  In 2012-2013, the school decided to do a pilot year and installed one are of a safe turf and left one area of mulch.  From August to the end of May that year, the school had 5 breaks or sprains then required medical treatment.  As a result the other play area also installed the safe turf.  From August 14-April 4, 2014, they have only had 3 breaks or sprains needing medical attention.  They were due to children jumping off the swings, not to the surfacing conditions.  

As a result, the school influenced the 12 other schools in the district to install the new turf on all 33 of their playgrounds.  The leaders in the project were Dan Anderson, Director of Buildings and Grounds for the district; Kelly Flax, Principal and Currie Trumble, School Nurse, both at Thomas Utican Elementary(TUE) School, Dr. Bill Cowling,TUE staff and students, Board of education- all representing Blue Springs School District.  The surfacing that they used was artificial grass produced by SYNLawn.  The turf complies with ASTM F1292 and is IPEMA certified.  It was installed by TURFetc.

The district also has the playgrounds inspected by a playground inspector who happens to be certified by NPPS.

We congratulate the Blue Springs School District in Blue Springs, Missouri for doing careful planning and taking good steps to make the playgrounds in their district safer for children in order to prevent injuries.  We congratulate them for being named the 2014 recipient of the John Preston Award.