Short End Magazine Blog Choose the Right Playground Surfaces to Prevent Fall Injuries

Choose the Right Playground Surfaces to Prevent Fall Injuries

Playground Surfaces

Playground Surfaces provide fun and adventure for kids, but they can also be a source of injury. Fall injuries make up more than 70 percent of playground-related injuries1. When kids fall, the surface they land on is crucial in determining how severe the impact will be.

The best playground surfacing materials can keep a minor accident from turning into a serious one. It’s important to base your selection on safety and accessibility standards, the amount of time you can devote to maintenance, and how much your budget can accommodate.

Unitary Surfaces

A popular choice, rubber poured-in-place (PIP) is long-lasting and ideal for ADA accessibility. It’s also one of the safest playground surfacing options as it offers great shock absorption and is customized on-site to your equipment’s specific fall height. PIP is initially expensive, however, and requires professional installation.

Other unitary surfacing options include rubber tiles and synthetic turf. Both are durable and low-maintenance, but they might be more expensive than other surfacing choices. If you choose to go with a poured-in-place or tiled surface, look for a high-quality product that has been tested for toxins and has been approved by the International Playground Safety Institute.

Loose-fill surfacing includes sand, loose-fill rubber mulch, wood chips, and pea gravel. It’s typically cheaper than unitary surfaces, but it will require more frequent maintenance as it thins out over time and can be kicked away from areas of heavy use. To minimize this, you can install wear mats, which will reduce the frequency of loose-fill replacement.

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