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Problem Solver - August 2012

Choose the Right Safety Surface


When you're planning a playground, you need to pay just as much attention to what goes beneath the equipment as you do to the equipment itself. Many children are injured due to falls to the surface from the playground every year. Knowing your options and making an informed decision that meets your site's particular needs is critical.

Q: What should we know about playground safety surfaces?

A: There are several varieties of playground surfacing, and each comes with its own advantages.

Many playground owners rely on loose fill, including wood chips, sand, wood fiber or rubber mulch. These types of surfaces typically come with a lower initial cost. However, you should be aware that proper maintenance is required to ensure the fill remains at the proper depth to protect children from injuries. Rubber mulch offers some benefits over wood, in that it does not create dust, decompose, rot, absorb water, displace or attract insects in the same way that wood chips can. And, you can even find bonded rubber mulch that acts more like a unitary surface, and requires much less maintenance than typical loose-fill applications.

Unitary surfaces, which include poured-in-place surfacing and safety tiles, offer different advantages. They are less maintenance-intensive, while providing much better accessibility. With these types of surfaces, you'll want to check regularly for wear, especially in high-traffic areas.

Bonded rubber mulch acts like a unitary surface, with none of the displacement and constant raking that come with traditional mulch, but still providing a long-term solution to playground safety.

Q: Can we find a safety surface that will fit in with the look of our site?

A: No matter which type of surface you choose—loose fill or unitary—you should be able to find colors that will complement your playground equipment and other site elements.

With tiles and poured-in-place surfaces, you can even get a variety of colors and add a design right into the surface beneath your playground, adding even more fun and excitement.

A more natural site might benefit from synthetic grass surfacing, which will fit in with the greens and neutral colors typical of many modern playgrounds that are aiming to reconnect kids with nature.



FOR MORE INFORMATION

No Fault Sport Group LLC: 866-637-7678
www.nofault.com