When it comes to caring for children, it’s extremely important to create a safe learning environment. The safety of the children under their care is the main concern of preschool owners and teachers, as well as daycare providers.
Creating a kid-safe environment involves a lot of thought and planning surrounding everything from building location to snacks. One of the major safety considerations, however, is the choice of flooring. The right flooring can help create a protected and safe environment while the wrong one can actually cause harm to the kids. If you’re in the process of choosing a floor for your preschool or daycare, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the features required to make sure it’s safe for small children. The comfort, cleanliness and appearance of the flooring are also important factors to keep in mind.
Falls are a part of a child’s growing up process. Considering that kids are likely to run around and roughhouse both indoors and outdoors, this increases their contact time with the ground. For small children still getting comfortable with walking, falls are also a common occurrence. All this means you need to protect the children in your facility with a safe, comfortable, flooring that will cushion their falls. Hard flooring like tile and concrete are just too strong and can end up causing bruises, abrasions, bumps and even broken bones if big spills happen on them.
As a result, vinyl is one of the best options for flooring in schools. Vinyl floors offer cushioning that prevents kids from getting hurt if they fall down. For outside play areas and playgrounds, cushioning is equally as important. Look for an outdoor floor with a fall rating compatible with the type of equipment and toys children will be playing with. Rubber and vinyl playground mats and tiles are a popular, safe playground surface choice.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
Children are experts in making a mess, reason why you need a floor that is easy to clean and maintain. Children are going to knock over paint pots, spill drinks, drop food, make crumbs, draw off the paper, splatter fingerprint… the list goes on. Whatever food, arts and crafts are used, you’ll want and need a floor that is easy to clean and that doesn’t hold water and can be regularly mopped.
Having a low maintenance floor is also crucial for health and sanitation. Children are more susceptible to getting sick as their immune system is weaker. Although it’s inevitable that germs and bacteria will be brought into the classroom, you can significantly minimise transmission of colds, pink eye, and other illness by maintaining a clean environment, including the floor. According to experts, only smooth, nonporous surfaces should be allowed in areas that are likely to be contaminated by body fluids or in areas used for activities involving the floor.
More than keeping children safe and healthy in your facility, you also want to make sure they are comfortable. Kiddos spend a lot of time playing on the floor – building with blocks, racing cars, setting up dolls, or just reading and colouring. Children will be far happier if they can do so on a cushioned and inviting flooring surface. The choice of flooring is also quite important for keeping quiet the spaces where children are napping. Floors with thick cushioning won’t allow footsteps or falls of objects to make a lot of noise.
What Are the Best Options?
You want to keep the kids and the teachers stimulated and happy in an environment that is both pleasant and comfortable. Colours are not only appealing to children, but they can also stimulate brain development. This means picking a colourful flooring will help create an energising and vibrant environment for kids to learn in.
Children’s voice can be loud, and toys dropped on hard-surfaces can rattle the eardrums as well. Keep the noise level at a minimum by choosing a floor with sound-dampening properties, like a vinyl floor. Luxury vinyl flooring offers the best acoustic and shock-absorbing properties of all hard flooring types, while also improving classroom safety. This explains why vinyl is a common flooring in schools. Plus, luxury vinyl flooring is easy to clean and offer significant maintenance time and cost savings compared with other floorings.
When it comes to installation, vinyl flooring is typically easier than the installation of other flooring materials. For example, a floating vinyl sheet doesn’t require glue or staples. Vinyl flooring with peel and stick features can simply be adhered to a prepared subfloor. Vinyl flooring can also be installed over other surfaces including hardwood, plywood and concrete. Vinyl flooring is also highly durable. When installed and maintained correctly it can last up to 20 years.
With all that said, vinyl is a great choice for preschools and daycares. Plus, most types of vinyl flooring have a wear layer on their surface that resists scratches and stains. Some manufacturers offer warranties of up to 15 years on the wear layer. As with any flooring, the quality of the material you purchase will affect how long your vinyl flooring lasts.