Do You Need Safety Surfacing: The Facts
One of the most overlooked areas of playground safety is the playing surface and for good reason. After spending a considerable amount of money on a quality play system, spending additional money on a playground surface is not something people are too excited about. Unfortunately, the facts are that over 200,000 children are severely injured each year due to playground injures. The injuries range from fractures to severe concussions. According to one study over a several year period, over 80% of playground injuries were caused by falls to the surface.
So what is a safe playground surface? According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a safe playground surface includes rubber mulch, engineered wood fiber, unitary surface such as bonded rubber, pea gravel and sand. Not included in the list are grass, dirt and artificial grass and for good reason. Grass and dirt offer the same protection as concrete when someone is falling from a swing that is 8 feet high in the air.
Ultimately, as a parent, school administrator, property manager -- whatever your capacity, if you are in charge of a playground, you should evaluate your playground surface in relation to the playground fall height. For example, a playground with a maximum fall height of 6' can use 3" of rubber mulch or 5" of engineered wood fiber. A playground with a maximum fall height of 10' should have at least 5" of rubber mulch and 9 inches of engineered wood fiber. You see, the key is not just having the right material, it's the right depth of each material that determines if the surface offers the protection you need.
As parents and purveyors of playground safety surfaces, we highly recommend that you purchase the correct safety surface for your budget and application. If you need help determining what material or the depth of the material, please give us a call at 800-778-6852. We love kids and we want to keep them safe!