Sand & Sandboxes
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Sand & Sandboxes
The sand in the sandbox at my daughter's preschool gives off
a lot of dust. When children walk in the sandbox, or when the
teachers sweep the sand off of the surrounding pavement,
clouds of dust rise up. I am worried about the kids inhaling
the dust. The sand is supposedly ''#1 Plaster Sand'' from
Graniterock in Santa Cruz. Their website says the sand is to
be used for bedding sand and for mortar mixes for masonry. Is
this bad? concerned UC parent
I think they need play sand, not plaster sand! And even then, there
are degrees of safety. From
http://www.thegreenguide.com/doc/120/play/2: ''In home sandboxes,
avoid ''all-purpose'' sand, which has not been washed to screen out
breathable particles. The Safe Sand Company sells asbestos- and
silica-free sand (www.safesand.com, 415-971-1776). Replace sand
regularly to avoid contamination.''
From what you describe, it sounds like the sand should be
replaced with play sand (coarser and cleaner). Sand is pretty
inexpensive, so it shouldn't cost much to get the appropriate
kind and get rid of the dusty, fine stuff currently in the play
yard. Play sand is available from many local sources, including
American Soil, OSH & Home Depot. Breathing lots of dust on a
regular basis is not good.
I share your concern about the sandbox at the daycare center.
Many sands in California are derived from serpentine-bearing
rock. In other words, they contain asbestos, in addition to the
usual silicaceous minerals. None of this is good for human lungs.
In my opinion, the dust is MUCH more dangerous than pesticides,
non-organic produce, plasticizers, or the other things which many
Berkeley residents worry about.
Yikes! You don't want your child playing in that sand. Sandboxes
for children should only use ''Play'' sand. I'd have the preschool
change the sand out asap!
I think your instincts (and nose) are right--get online and find
the right grade of sand, I think there is a local company that
provides sand, and give the info to the daycare. A lot of times
this kind of thing can be easily solved if you give them the info
and make it easy to change the sand to a different grade made for
It's probably, probably, probably nothing to worry about. And
yet, I have a background in ceramics, and sand is made of
silica, silica is glass... one of the dangers in ceramics is
inhaling silica dust -- not good for the lungs. If it were me,
I'd call the company and find out the exact make-up of the sand,
then take that info, plus a sample to the ceramics department at
Berkeley, and have some prof give his or her opinion about
whether or not it's dangerous.
All sand is a carcinogenic when inhaled, the bags at the store
all have a caution statment on them about that, even fresh
beach sand. The best thing to do is minimize dust. Ie, remind
kids to keep dust down and spraying with water daily if
You should definitely talk to the preschool about the
composition of the sand they're using. Sand is composed of
silica, which is a carcinogen when inhaled, and the finer the
grains, the more likely it is to be inhaled. FYI, exposing
people to a carcingen like this is a violation of Proposition
65, the California statute that requires warning about
exposures to carcinogens and reproductive toxins (you've
probably seen the signs in gas stations and parking garages).
If the preschool is resistent, I'd make sure they know about
Prop. 65 and the army of private enforcers out there.
don't let your kids inhale that stuff
We just built a sand box but are having a terrible time trying to
find a place that carries play sand. I have called several
nurseries (Dwight Wy. Nursery, Berkeley Hort., Cactus Jungle) and
large garden center places (Target, OSH) and no one has it.
Any suggestions? I'm willing to travel as long as I know I'm
headed to a place that actually has some in stock.
Thanks for the help, my little eager diggers thank you too.
American Soil and Acapulco Rock & Soil (more customer friendly
I feel) are landscape supply companies that carry sand. They
are both in Richmond, along I80/El Cerrito.
www.americansoil.com www.acapulcorockandsoil.com You can
rent a pickup and have them load the truck for you, or bring
sand bags (buy them at ACE Hardware in El Cerrito) to bag the
sand. They sometimes have bagged sand on hand already. The
sand they have is for construction, but I've used it for our
kids' sandbox and it works fine. Toys R Us sells sandbox sand
by the bag, but it's expensive. It's the gravelly kind that
doesn't bind when wet. I think kids prefer real sand they can
make sandcastles out of. Once you have a sandbox, you'll have
cats. It's worth getting a cover to not have to remove and
replace the sand, once you find the cat's used the sandbox.
You can order custom sandbox tarps from a company in Redding,
if you need: www.reddingcanvas.bigstep.com
We used American Soil Products 292-3000 to get coarse river
sand for a kid's sandbox. (Fine sand was a mistake, it packed
too hard.) It's moved from Berkeley to Richmond since then.
Both Home Depot and Orchard Hardware carry play sand.
Does anyone know where to purchase safe silica-free sand
that is affordable? I have been looking online and the prices are high. Also, is the
play sand, sold in most retail stores, safe,even though it comes with a warning label
on the bag?
Silica in sand is just quartz, it isn't toxic. I had to look up
the warnings because I had never heard of such a thing, and it
turns out the danger applies specifically to people who inhale a
lot of fine silica dust. For instance, those who work as sand
blasters should wear a mask, because they can develop silicosis
The reason they have a higher risk of cancer is due to the
irritation caused by small particles in their lungs...constant
irritation means the cells have to divide more often to replace
the ones that are lost...more dividing cells means a slightly
higher risk of getting stuck with a mutation leading to a tumor.
Exposure of the lungs to ANY small particle, including silica or
another inert particle, would lead to the same risk. Silica free
sand won't reduce that risk, and unless your kids are planning on
grinding it up to a fine powder and inhaling large amounts of it,
they'll be fine.
So yes, normal sand is safe. Silica is safe, and it's everywhere
in nature, you can't avoid it.
I'm trying to find silica-free sand for my daughter's sandbox.
The play-grade sand I bought at Toys R Us has a carcinogenic
warning on the label! I've contacted American soil and they
don't have anything. Does anyone know where to find non-
carcinogenic sand for a children's sandbox?
Silica is not inherently carcinogenic. Small particles are.
Any inhalable materials-- smoke, silica, asbestos, even hay--
can lead to lung cancer if inhaled regularlly over many years.
Sand consists of large particles of silicates and
aluminosilicates (0.05-2 millimeters). Inhalable particles are
in the 0.0001 millimeter size range. The percent of inhalable
particles, silica or other, present in ANY bag of sand is not
likely to be large enough for concern.
You might find info (or phone numbers of folks who have the info
you need) at this site: http://www.spease.com/playsafe.html.
I found it with a google search. Or you could call some of the
city parks departments in the area and see if they know of a
local source (you might get some interesting, evasive and scary
- a mom
Does anyone know how to tell if sandbox sand is safe? I know
some kinds contain harmful materials which I'd like to steer
clear of. This is sand at school playground, not newly
purchased, so I don't know where it came from or who bought it.
I'm only working with appearance.
want safe, healthy kids
There is no asbestos in sand(or shouldn't be!). Rather, sand is
made of mostly silica, a naturally occuring element (like
asbestos) which in large doses can cause lung problems (like
asbestos) such as silicosis. This primarily happens in an
however (mining, construction) where exposure to silica can be
of a long duration (eight hours a day, five days a week for
years) and quite high.
The sand in playground sand is most
fine enough to enter into the innermost reaches of the airway
where it could do its damage. There is a warning on the bag
because silica is considered carcinogenic, and law dictates the
warning I presume. But from my experience (I am an occupational
health/safety professional who works for a park system), I have
never come across any evidence linking playground sand to
increased health risks in children. Asbestos, lead and arsenic,
yes, silica in playground sand, no, for the reasons I listed
above. Of course, you never know. But given the other risks
possibly lurking at playgrounds (such as lead and arsenic), I'd
focus on those and not worry about the sand.
We've looked at bags of sand, labeled ''play sand'' at toys-r-us
and home depot. Both have notices that they contain chemicals
which may cause cancer. Also, I've heard that you have to be
sure to get sand that doesn't have dust, which can cause
silicosis. It seems these are two separate safety issues.
Thanks for advice. I'm sure someone has figured this out
I did a lot of research on this when we bought sand. I am a
librarian at the UCB Public Health Library and have access
to a lot of the original documentation of the research
behind these prop. 65 warnings. Basically, my conclusion
is that the ingredient in question (silica) is really only
a problem for those in daily, high dose contact with it,
i.e. sandblasters, quarry workers, etc. I think the amount
of silica dust a child will inhale during the small amount
of time s/he spends playing in sand is not a concern. All
the studies on this were based on people with repeated long-
term occupational exposure.
On the other issue--dust--we got some very nice sand from
Orchard Supply (ashby nr san pablo) in 50 pound bags (they
will put in your car). It's very cheap, and is nice stuff--
similar to the sand at 1000 oaks park in berkeley
(relatively coarse with not much dust). I would not
recommend any sand at American Soil--all theirs seemed very
dusty to me.
Can anyone recommend a safe, less messy, alternative to sand for a sandbox? My kids love to scoop up whatever and put it in their trucks and I would love to get them a real sandbox to play with but don't feel like having to give them a bath EVERY time they play outside. When we moved to this house there was pile of small gravel that they went crazy with but is that safe or are there possible additives (like some kinds of sand) that could be harmful to children? It was less ''sticky'' than sand so it didn't get all over them too badly.
At the Bay Area Discovery Museum they have gravel pits instead
of sand and the kids love it. I am probably going to do the
same at our house. Ask about any additives when you buy it,
but besides little, little kids trying to eat the rocks, it
should be safe.
I don't know if it's practical on the scale of a climb-in
sandbox, but the daycare we go to has a big tub full of dry
black beans that are awesome for scooping and pouring - you
can't build bean castles, but the beans feel good and are easy
to clean up and safe for the kids.
We are looking for sandbox sand. We like the slightly bigger,
rounder, smoother, tan granules of sand at the Thousand Oaks Tot
Lot in North Berkeley. The bag of "Play Sand" we bought at
Home Depot was dusty, too-fine and gray. If anyone knows of
the name, grade and possible places of purchase of sand similar
to that in nice playgrounds, please let us know. Thanks.
Try American Soil Products in Berkeley. I think that they carry sand with the
larger grain size suitable for a sandbox.
Call American Soil Products in Berkeley 883-7200. They have several grades of
sand. You could go look at it and feel it before buying it. They also would
probably be able to tell you on the phone exactly what you want. They can
deliver in bulk or sell it in bags. June
We bought our sandbox sand at American Soil Products in Berkeley. They have many kinds
and you can either pick it up yourself or pay a reasonable delivery charge and they will
deliver it to you. Their phone number is 510-883-7200, and they are located at 3rd and Bancroft.
Ace Hardware has play sand that I think fits your description. We bought
sand at the big store at the end of Bancroft (forget the name) and had to
return it because it was too dusty.
Home Depot sells sand specifically identified as Sandbox Sand for under $3.00
Orchard Supply Hardware on Ashby at San Pablo has good coarse grain sand.
I think they call it "Play Sand" -- they have a display sample so it will
be clear which is the right one. They are about $4 a bag. Kim
I am looking for fine play sand for my daughters sand box. Everywhere I
go I can only find the grainy kind of play sand. It's hard to bake little
cakes in the sand box since the sand is not fine enough. If I add water to
it it's a little better but not as nice as the fine play sand. My daughter's
preschool has this sand I am talking about but unfortunatly they can't
remember where they bought it. Most play grounds have the grainy
sand I don't like but it's just not as much fun to play with. This sand
always seems to be a little damp which makes for great sand cakes.
Anybody know where to get it ?
American Soil Products in Richmond Annex- San Joaquin Ave. off
Central Ave. Can't remember a specific name for it, but they've
Osh hardware might, too.
Back in 2001 or 2002 we got great fine, sterile sand in 50 lb.
bags from Home Depot.
Diamond-K in Lafayette sells fine sand for sandboxes.
Fine sand usually comes packaged as #30 grit size silica sand.
You can get 100 lb bags for under $10 of this from masonry stores
(such as Maccon Masonry on Bayshore in San Francisco). Home Depot
sells a product called Medium Construction Sand - also in 100 lb
bags which I've found to be #30 grit size as well.
The downside to sand this fine is that it is easier to get into
Happy cake making!
I found fine play sand at a Gardening Supply store called
Diamond K in Lafayette. It is located on MT Diablo Blvd./West
side of Lafayette just past the Trader Joe's. I think it cost
about $7 for a sack of sand.
does anyone know where to get clean sand for sand box? thanks
OSH on Ashby near San Pablo. They sell clean play sand. Just pick up the slip, go
to the register, pay and they will load the bags into your car in the pickup
section. Toyr's R Us used to have sand too. I don't know if they do anymore.
Last summer I got some coarse play sand at Orchard Supply for $3/bag.
I know Home Depot sells play sand too.
Hi, I need help picking a product. We got a sandbox this summer
(tuggy) and filled it with water for wading. We had planned on
filling it with sand later, but are now waivering. Should we
get a sand/water table for sand instead? We have several
factors to consider:
1. We already purchased sea sand which is very fine and may
stick to clothing.
2. Kids' ages are 4yrs and 8mo. Would both be able to enjoy
the table vs. box? The 8mo. can stand and almost walk.
3. There are feral cats causing brown patches on our grass.
The 4yr old will surely leave the box uncovered when I am not
looking. Are cats less likely to use the open table as a litter
box? (The sea sand is much pricier than reg. play sand to
We have the Little Tykes sand/water table. We love it, but
decided to fill the whole thing with water. My daughter has
more fun sitting in the sand and digging (which you can't do in
a table-top sand box), and when we used the sand and water
sections as they were intended, she ended up mostly making mud:
pouring water into the sand side and pouring sand into the
water side. Because she gets so much sand time at parks, we
just filled the whole table with water and she seemed to enjoy
it just as much.
We first bought my daughter a small turtle sandbox and
found it wasn't much fun for her. It wasn't really big enough
for her to sit in and play the way she wanted. So we bought
the Little Tikes sand and water table and she likes it much
better. We have a very small back patio, but the sand/water
table has made it a fun space for my daughter. The only
problem with it is that it is very difficult to open and close,
which really drives me crazy. We also end up with sand all
over the ground around the table and lots of sand in the
water, making it sort of a mess to close. This doesn't bother
me a bit-- it's on a patio so we can just sweep up the sand,
but I suppose it might be frustrating if it was on the grass.
Does anyone know where I can buy a WOODEN sandbox to put in our garden? If
not, does anyone have fairly simple instructions on how to make one? We'll
fake it if need be, but it would help to follow someone else's guidelines.
re: the wooden sandbox--four boards sanded for splinters & put together
with metal corner braces would make an easy sandbox, simply placed over
soil. However, be sure you plan on a top or a good heavy tarp if there are
cats in your area, or your sandbox will become a litter box that smells &
harbors disease. Also if you want a bottom put some small holes in it in
case you leave the tarp off & it rains, unless you want a sand puddle.
The plastic ones with tops are unecological but they are cheap &
practical. (Punch a hole in the bottom with a shovel when the rain gets in.)
If you decide to build a sandbox, Urban Ore
in Berkeley (Gilman & 6th)
has inexpensive building materials and lots of other treasures.
We are considering using railroad ties as a border for our
children's sandbox, but someone recently mentioned that due to
the chemicals that are in the ties they can be very dangerous if
a child gets a splinter from them. I remember playing near and
on railroad ties as a kid, but has anyone heard of anything like
this or have experience otherwise?
trying to be safe
While I am uninformed of the dangers of chemicals in railroad
ties, I can tell you the the splinters can be pretty awful. When
we were kids, my sister got a splinter - more like a thorn - in
her foot from one of those things. It was an evening seared into
my memory, with all the screaming and howling involved in getting
it out. My grandparents came over (to bring big tweezers? to
help hold her still? I don't know why...) and they finally got
the thing out. In my mind, the thorn was half a foot long if it
was an inch, but that is probably distorted... But it was big
and the extraction was unpleasant.
Drama Queen's Sister
Don't use railroad ties! A friend of mine said he had some in his garden.
When they started to rot, he wanted to get rid of them. He had to pay thousands of
dollars to do this. You can't just take them to the dump. They must be
disposed of in an environmentally safe way. They're soaked in creosote, I
think. Ugh, you don't want them near your kids.
Please do not use rail road ties for any purpose. They should
be disposed of as a hazardous waste at your local hazardous
waste facility b/c creosote will leach out in a regular
landfill and contaminate our ground water. Railroad ties are
treated with creosote which is classified by the WHO and US EPA
as probable human carcinogens, a known carcinogen by the US
NTP, and listed as human carcinogens by the CA Prop 65 and TRI
Creosote is suspected of being a reproductive toxin and hormone
disruptor. It will leach out of wood and go into your soil.
It can be absorbed into your body by dermal contact from soil,
breathing contaminated dust, and by eating the contaminated
vegetables grown in the soil. I even read in an organic
magazine that a gardener couldn't get anything to grow in her
vegetable garden fenced in w/ railroad ties... perhaps due to
the creosote the editor responded.
Beyond Pesticides www.beyondpesticides.org has done extensive
research on the toxicity of treated telephone poles, treated
the same way as railroad ties. www.beyondpesticides.org.
Search ''poison poles''.
Be aware that Home Depot, Lowe's, and other home ''improvement''
stores and nursuries have sold landscaping mulch containing
scrapped treated lumber. In order to know for sure that it does
not contain ground up treated wood, the bag should
say ''100%...'' if it doesn't, like when I ordered a truckload
of mulch for my yard, I had to call not just the store, but its
supplier to have the MSDS sent. Do not take a worker's word for
it... they usually go by what they've been told and not a
legally binding document. Railroad ties, telephone poles, and
CCA treated wood is ground up on a regular basis and sold as
cheaper mulching material. It is horrible and until
environmental groups threaten or file a law suit, our
government which is usually married to industry, allow these
atrocities to continue.
In 1968 when CCA wood was first introduced, workers immediately
fell ill from grinding down the CCA wood. Germany banned CCA
lumber in the mid 1970's. By mid 1980's U.S.'s injuries from
CCA wood were piling up. In 1983 scientists and the Journal of
American Med Assoc. warned people of CCA treated wood. In the
Late 1980's Canada did the first controlled research showing
the leaching of CCA out of wood. In 1990, the US Consumer
Product Safety Commission published a flawed study on CCA wood
that kept it on the market. In 1993 Sweden banned CCA lumber.
In Dec of 2002, injuries are reported from CCA scrap found in
landscaping mulch. In Nov 2002, the Environmental Working Group
publishes a report about the high levels of arsenic in CCA
treated woods found at Home Depot and Lowe's. Beyond Pesticides
along w/ several other environmental groups sues the US EPA to
ban all woods treated w/ creosote, PCP, and CCA. It wasn't
until then did US EPA finally concede and requested a voluntary
ban on CCA treated wood from being sold for residential use.
It will not be available as of Jan 1, 2004. Warn others of the
tempting sales to get rid of stockpiles until then, including
the mulch. However, scraping of cresote and PCP treated lumber
is not banned as far as I know. So we still need to check.
Parents for a Safer Environment (www.pfse.net)is currently
working to reform pesticide use by local residents, contacted
out pest control companies (particularly those who contract
regular sprayings), and city parks. If you're interested in
joining us for the educational campaign, media out-reach, and
negotiations with local politicians, please join us. We have
several scientists on board, but need more folks with knowledge
in marketing, advertising, editing, graphics, etc..
Definitely do not use railroad ties anywhere in the garden
(except possibly for informal steps in the back forty)! The
creosote that oozes out is toxic and is also very sticky and
messy. Although they used to be used commonly for many
landscaping purposes, they are rarely used now that more
information is available re toxins. Railroad ties are considered
toxic enough that they can legally be disposed of at only one
dumpsite in the whole state (near Fresno I think)- they are not
allowed in regular landfills.
An alternative is what are called landscape ties which are
pressure treated wood, saturated with a much less toxic
preservative. You can use these for the structure, for strength,
and surface them with either smooth-finished redwood 1X lumber,
or with one of the fake wood products now used for decking (it
won't rot, looks decent). I'd recommend covering the top and side
faces of the ties so that the kids don't contact the surfaces of
Though railroad ties can be very attractive in a landscape,
they absolutely shouldn't be used in an area where people
(especially children) will have exposure to them, nor should
they be used to support vegetable beds. They are
preservered with creosote a known carcinogen.
Good question. There are a lot of options for a sandbox border.
You will probably get a spectrum of opinions on this. Those
who are concerned about any chemical expsosures to children will
say, ''Absolutely not.'' Those who prefer to look at the risks
relative to other eveyday risks may come to a different answer
depending upon the specifics. Railroad ties generally have been
treated with creosote as a wood preservative. That is what gives
them the distinctive smell and dark brown color. Most ceosote is
made as a by product of heating coal to very high temperatures in
the absence of oxygen. This creates among other things a class
of compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs.
Some PAHs are carcinogenic in animal tests and probably are in
humans as well. PAHs have many sources including cigarette
smoke, charcoal grilled meats or vegetables, coal tar shampoos
and medicines used for psoriasis, and just about any time that
organic material is incompletely burned as in wood smoke. The
amount of exposure to PAHs from these sources varies
tremendously; from enough to have a medicinal effect as in the
coal tar products to negligible from sitting around a campfire on
vacation. Sorry for the long winded background. To cut to the
chase, there are three likely ways that young children may get
exposure to creosote in ties: splinters as you mention, general
skin contact and oral from putting stained hands or a piece of
treated wood in the mouth. I think the splinter route is the
least important. It is not going to happen very often and the
amount of material that gets in the wound is negligible. If the
splinter were large enough to carry chemically dangerous amounts
of creosote, you would be calling 911 and cancer 20 years in the
future would be the last of your worries. Oral contact might be
a problem for children still in the oral stage of development if
they spent much time on the ties themselves but I tend to think
is not a significant problem. General skin contact is the mot
likely in my mind to be the largest potential exposure route.
Sitting on the ties with bare legs etc. and touching them with
the hands. So, after all of this what is my advice?
I don't think that railroad ties as a sandbox border create a
chemical exposure risk that is significant relative all of the
other risks around them. Having said that, I would not buy brand
new ties, since the older weathered ones will have less creosote
near the surface (although the potential for splinters may be
greater) to get on the skin and stain clothes. Also, especially
if you live in the hotter parts of the Bay Area, newwer ties can
sometime have little pools of nearly pure creosote that puddle on
the surface increaseing skin and clothing contact. By the way
for our sand box I used landscaping timbers and when they rotted
after 10 years I replaced them with a stone border. I did not
consider ties, because I was doing this myself and could not move
them without help, and I did not have a chain saw to make the
I'm pretty sure that old railroad ties are pressure-treated with
arsenic and/or creosote to prevent them from deteriorating.
If they've been previously used and exposed to weather,
some of these chemicals can (and probably will) leach out
of the lumber. So, they're probably not the best material to
use for something that children will spend a lot of time
using. Redwood is a natural material that weathers well.
It's probably more expensive, but far less poisonous. I think
cedar might work untreated, as well.
Railroad ties are treated with creosote - a toxic material - to
make them more resistant to rot. For this reason, I would think
twice about using them in landscaping for your yard, let alone a
child's sandbox. Even if the child doesn't get a splinter, the
child will probably be in contact with the wood and then may put
hands in mouth. Creosote also gives off nasty odors.
I would also caution you against pressure-treated wood for
similar reasons. Pressure is used to force chemicals, such as
pentachlorophenol or copper chromated arsenic, into the wood.
You don't want your kid playing around chemicals like that.
I would suggest redwood, or if you are concerned about
splinters/durability, you could consider a product like Trex -
an engineered product made of recycled plastic and sawdust.
Do not use railroad ties in your backyard! Creosote oozes from
them (the black stuff) and it is linked to various cancers --
most commonly skin cancer. Avoid touching it whenever you see
it installed at other places.
There are plenty of other materials you can use to build a sand
box. The newer pressure treated woods are made with out
arsenic -- and should be pretty safe -- and last in exterior
conditions. Or better yet used recycled or sustainably
harvested redwood. Ecotimber in Berkeley is a good source for
sustainably harvested wood.
I passed this question along to my husband, a general
contractor who ran his own firm for twenty years. His response:
''I would not use railroad ties in this application. They are
treated with creosote, which is a petroleum byproduct and is
not a good material to be in contact with. The advantage to
railroad ties is that they are cheap and - because they are
treated - they last along time when in contact with the earth.
However, I would strongly recommend the use of either
stone /concrete borders, untreated cedar, or redwood 6^T X 6^T in
this sandbox. I would not use pressure-treated material since
this material has the same problem that creosoted railroad ties
Hope this is helpful.
I was wondering if anyone has had trouble with their sandbox
having various bugs & worms in it. I have noticed this recently
and am wondering if it will correct itself once it dries out, or
if I should get rid of all the sand & start over. I am thinking
it is due to the wet weather recently. I hate to let my 4 year
old play in it, when I am not sure what lies beneath. Our
sandbox is a covered one, so I am not sure what to do to keep
the pests out.
Our sandbox (also covered) started getting smelly from the
alternating wet / warm weather. I decided to empty it out, let
it dry completly and start over. The sand is cheap and I feel a
lot better about the kids playing in it when its ''clean''.
Everyone seems to have their own method of sandboxing.
My experience was that the worms will try to reclaim the
sand as dirt ... unless you have a bottom as well as a lid. If
your sandbox is wood, you can staple some thick plastic
sheeting at the bottom, poke a few holes in it for drainage,
and then put the sand on top. I don't think you need to get
new sand, just let the sand dry out well on sunny days. But if
you don't have a bottom, it will just get wet and wormy again
Just an addition to the responses to this post - I lined the
bottom of our sandbox with landscape fabric, available at
any hardware or garden store. It keeps worms out but lets
water drain away.
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