Zika and Playgrounds

We love our children and would do anything to keep them out of harm’s way. As our children run around on the playground, we keep an eye out for scraped knees, bullying, and kidnappers. However, there’s one threat that we might not even see that is looming amongst the swing sets and slides, looking to prey on our children.

Little pesky mosquitos who may just be carrying the Zika virus.

We all know from experience how hard it is to stop mosquitos from feasting upon our flesh. That’s what makes us so worried when it comes to protecting our loved ones from the Zika virus. It was one thing when a mosquito bite just left an itchy red bump its place, but now we all have to worry about the threat of Zika as well.

With cases in continental United States rising to 5,001 in February 2017, the Zika virus continues to slowly afflict more residents of the continental United States. The reason this number has been steadily rising is because the cases of Zika in other U.S. Territories continue to grow as well. As numbers in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and America Samoa climb up to 36,498, the numbers in continental United States tick up as well. Southern states such as Texas and Florida, the latter which has 97% of continental United States’ Zika cases, continue to see an increase in reported Zika outbreaks.

So what can we do to protect our children from being the victim of an infected mosquito? We can start by making places that we frequent less attractive to mosquitos. A good place to start is the playground.

A lot of playgrounds are covered with wood mulch, which gets rained on and holds in water. As many people know, water is a breeding ground for mosquitos. Pushing around the wood chips in a playground, you are bound to see swarms of mosquitos coming out of hiding.

The reason most playgrounds have wood mulch as their choice of covering is for the fact that it is cheap. But at what cost? A child contracting Zika far outweighs the dollars and cents wood chips save. Not to mention the fact that wood chips do rot as soon as they are installed, which not only attracts even more bugs, but drives up costs because they will have to be replaced so frequently. So in the end, are you really saving money by using wood chips?

A great solution to combating this public outbreak is to replace all the wood chips in playgrounds with a synthetic safety surface. A lot of playgrounds have turned to using rubber from tires as an alternative, which is a great step toward fighting off Zika however the caveat is that rubber mulch made from tires may contain small fragments of wire that were originally used in the creation of the tire and toxins that were picked up during its previous life on the road.

Pieces of tire are cut into tiny little pieces and are placed on playground floors. Since this mulch is made out of rubber, it does not attract mosquitos. There is nowhere for them to burrow and procreate. Luckily, there’s an even safer and cleaner rubber mulch on the market, Jelly Bean Rubber Mulch is 100% wire-free pre consumer virgin rubber, making it safe for kids to run, fall, and crawl all over. The long term cost is much lower due to not having to replace the product annually and the initial cost can even be spread out over as many as 5 years.
Since Jelly Bean Rubber Mulch is not made from used tire rubber, there’s no wire and no toxins. It also does not heat up under the hot sun, so your child’s skin is free from scorching heat. It’s non-toxic, latex-free, and most of all- free of mosquitos.

There is no reason to add to the statistics that continue to grow in the United States. Using mulch that is made of 100% virgin scrap material is a sustainable no-brainer of a choice for all playgrounds. It’s safer for our children to run around and play on. They are no longer in danger of harming themselves, or being harmed by the mosquitos at large. Let’s fight the Zika before it starts, and begin implementing Jelly Bean Rubber Mulch on all local playgrounds.