If you’re the kind of urban-dwelling parent who worries about your kid growing up so comfortable with concrete that grass freaks them out, you have a new bogeyman: The American Society For Testing And Materials. That’s the organization dictating what can and can’t be used in your local playground, and they’ve determined that grass isn’t a safe enough material to use as a playground surface.
Yep, they hate grass.
On Thursday, the ASTM was set to take the grass-hating further by implementing even stricter standards for surface impact absorbency thresholds. And they would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids — in this case, a group of playground commentators and experts who were so vocal in their opposition that the ASTM chose to put the proposal on hold. But, the next ASTM meeting is in May and word on the street is that the chairman, George Sushinsky, will try to get members to push it through before then.
Opponents of the new standard want a wider review, suggesting that the potential consequences — hundreds of millions in additional expenditures by schools and municipalities, equipment removal, widespread closures, and the continued “dumbing down” of playgrounds — would be felt worldwide as other countries follow the United States’ lead.
No one thinks playgrounds should be made more dangerous (actually, these guys do), but anyone arguing that the cons outweigh the pros when it comes giving kids access to grass clearly can’t see the lawn from the blades. If you’d prefer your kids be raised in a world in which grass stains are still a thing, consider voicing your opinion to the ASTM before Sushinsky moves on to paving paradise and putting up a parking lot.