Playground accidents are responsible for nearly 200,000 injuries each year, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. The CPSC and the National Program for Playground Safety recommend the use of certain shock-absorbing materials as a base for playground structures. These materials lower the risk of serious injury due to falls and other playground mishaps. Review all material options and specifications to determine which is best for your situation.
Loose mulch is recommended as a surface for playgrounds. Hardwood mulch, or wood chips, is cost-effective and ideal for large surface areas. Rubber mulch is another consideration and offers the most versatility. It is available in either a nugget or shredded variety, with your choice of several colors. Rubber mulch is 100 percent metal-free.
Interlocking rubber or synthetic tiles offer continuous, padded protection over the surface area of the playground. The tiles lock together and have an internal support structure built to safety specifications. They are long-lasting and available in a variety of colors. Maintenance is low, and minor repairs can be made with replacement filler.
Synthetic Poured Surfaces
Synthetic poured surfaces are stationary playground surfaces made with a two-layer system. The base layer is composed of recycled tire buffings that provide the cushion. The top layer consists of rubber granules molded together with urethane. Synthetic poured surfaces have the advantage of being accessible for strollers and wheelchairs. Areas of a playground that see heavy use, such as those around swings and slides, can be custom-poured for more durability and impact resistance.
Artificial grass, or turf, was the original surface of choice for city playgrounds. It has come a long way since its first use, and now its design is similar to that of poured surfaces. The top layer consists of mono-filaments with the look and texture of real grass without the abrasive effects. The second layer is filled with a mixture of sand and rubber to reduce the impact of falls. Artificial grass is low-maintenance and doesn't need water or chemicals. It is pest-free and quick-drying, allowing for maximum playtime.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
How to Surface a Playground Area Safely
Most people want a playground area that is as safe as possible for their children. In the past, sand, wood chips and...
DIY Backyard Playground Equipment
The list of ideas for DIY playground equipment is almost limitless, so base your choices on cost, the size and layout of...
What Do You Put Under Swing Sets for Safety?
Not having the proper material beneath a swing set poses a safety hazard for children jumping or falling from the equipment. To...
Ideas for Outdoor Balcony Floors
In an apartment or condo, a balcony can be an extremely valuable feature since it may be the only outdoor space that...
Ideas for Playground Surfaces
Choosing the best surface for your school, neighborhood or backyard playground is important for maximizing play and minimizing injury. There are several...
Landscaping Ideas for a Playground Backyard
For a kid, nothing beats having a backyard playground for gathering with friends. Creating this space for your children requires careful consideration...