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National Program for Playground Safety, based at UNI, refunded

October 23, 2002

Donna Thompson, director, National Program for Playground Safety, (319) 273-2416
Gwenne Culpepper, Office of Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS), based at the University of Northern Iowa, has received a two-year federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. This is the eighth consecutive year the funding has been renewed.

Donna Thompson, project director and a UNI professor of physical education, said the grant will provide $550,000 to educate children and adults.

'Each year some 211,000 preschool and elementary children receive emergency treatment for injuries that occurred on playground equipment. We have identified three goals for this year that the grant will allow us to pursue.'

Thompson said the program has the following goals:

ï¾·Educate the public about the importance of playground safety and injury prevention.

ï¾·Assess the impact of environmental modifications of known risk factors on public playgrounds.

ï¾·Promote compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) guidelines and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards at state and local levels.

NPPS was established at UNI in 1995 by a grant from the CDC. Through its efforts, parents, educators, childcare professionals, city leaders and park officials have been given access to current information about playground safety and appropriate playground equipment.

The program maintains a toll-free hotline, 1-800-554-PLAY, to respond to playground safety issues. The program's Web site at has received more than 1.5 million visits.

Among ongoing services of the program are inter-library loan services of publications and documents from UNI's Rod Library; resource materials for use by organizations and agencies; in-depth educational opportunities through the NPPS Safety School and playground supervision workshops; and a network of professionals who can provide specific information to local communities around the country.