HARRISBURG, Pa., April 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With evidence from a new long-term study – published in early April – warning that half of American preschool-aged children are not getting enough daily, supervised outdoor play, the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) and other play advocacy and safety organizations are building awareness throughout National Playground Safety Week – April 23-27 – in an effort to improve the health of children and increase activity on playgrounds nationwide.
"This new study validates what we have been saying for years – that American children need more outdoor play," said IPEMA President Randy Watermiller. "Time and time again, research has shown that regular, physical play needs to begin at a young age and continue through adulthood, not only to improve physical health, but to develop creativity and boost mental health, as well."
IPEMA's Voice of Play advocacy initiative – which encourages and promotes free play on playgrounds on its website (VoiceOfPlay.com) and through social media – will promote playground safety, while educating about the benefits of unstructured free play as part of the National Program for Playground Safety's (NPPS) annual, nationwide awareness event.
Voice of Play will be sharing research, facts and educational materials on Facebook, Twitter (@voice_of_play) and in the Play Cafe blog. Tweets surrounding National Playground Safety Week will include hashtag #PlaySafe12 on Twitter
"Encouraging safe, free play is more important now than ever before," Watermiller said. "That's why it will be just as important to promote the daily practice of regular outdoor, free play during National Playground Safety Week as it will be to educate on play safety. It's a great opportunity for play advocates, parents, organizations, manufacturers and professionals to band together and spread national awareness of the importance of both play and play safety as necessities for healthy living."
As the industry leading third-party playground safety certification organization, IPEMA also aims at creating safer playground environments year-round by ensuring playground equipment and surfacing are compliant with applicable ASTM and CSA trade standards.
For more on National Playground Safety Week, visit www.playgroundsafety.org.
The International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association is a non-profit, membership, trade association that represents and promotes an open market for manufacturers of playground equipment and surfacing. IPEMA represents and serves its members by providing information on key economic and governmental issues affecting the play equipment industry and promotes relationships among related organizations. IPEMA provides third-party product certification services for public play equipment and surfacing in the United States and Canada, ensuring compliance with ASTM and CSA trade standards.
About Voice of Play
IPEMA's Voice of Play initiative promotes the benefits of children's play and playgrounds by providing information and resources to encourage the quality and quantity of children's play and the use of playgrounds. Through resources on the Voice of Play website – www.voiceofplay.com – and a social media outreach effort, the initiative heightens public awareness among key professional and consumer groups, including, parents, children, community groups, school administrators, parks and recreation professionals, playground designers and equipment manufacturers.
SOURCE International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association