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.
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