An Iowa business that’s helping deal with a stubborn waste-disposal problem is also making a product with promising market demand. Welch Products of Carlisle chops up old tires to make tough, flexible “artificial surfaces.” Tim Mahoney says they’re giving some of that product to Easter Seals for playground surfacing. He says the extended-life surfacing is part of the company’s salute to Easter Seals plan for combining daycare with the “Character Counts” program. At a news conference in the new Child Development Center at Easter Seals Camp Sunnyside headquarters, Mahoney said the company is donating the surfacing to the camp. Mahoney says it’s a good time to make the donation and announcement, because it’s National Playground Safety Week — and he hailed the National Center for Playground Safety, headquartered at the University of Northern Iowa. The program’s Dr. Donna Thompson says the playground is more hazardous for kids than you’d suspect. One thing they’re doing this year is checking the “animal swings,” the ones that look like horses, and that are blamed in two deaths and serious injuries like concussions, fractures and an eye lost. The center’s urging playground managers to get rid of those animal swings. Thompson said manufacturers are also offering existing playgrounds credit toward free equipment to replace the swings blamed for so many injuries, and she offered the Center’s assistance in planning a preschool playground at the Easter Seals daycare. Thompson says 70-percent of kids hurt on playgrounds suffer the injuries when they fall on the ground, and thanked the tire-recycling entrepreneur for making a safer product,.Thompson says the center’s pleased to work with Welch Products to provide appropriate surfacing to make playground surfaces safe for kids. The company says its crumb rubber safety tiles have proven safer than sand, gravel or wood chips. Welch’s other recycled tire products are used by highway departments to keep roadsides weed-free without chemicals or costly maintenance.
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