Problem Solver - August 2009
Find a printable version here

Finding Natural, Affordable Solutions for Playground Safety

Ensuring kids are safe on your playgrounds requires careful attention. Perhaps the most important factor in ensuring safety on the playground is providing a safe surface beneath the equipment. After all, the majority of injuries on the playground are caused by falls to the surface. Lately, however, concerns have arisen about the environmental impact of some of these surfaces, and in today's economy, it can be difficult to find the budget to purchase some of the pricier options.

Q: We put safety of the kids first and foremost, but we also have an environmental commitment. Is there a playground surface that will meet both of these needs?

A: Children's immediate safety is your top priority, but you'll be contradicting yourself if you aim to protect them in the short term without protecting their futures in the long term. Engineered wood fiber will not leach harmful or toxic substances into the air, the soil or the groundwater—and that protects everyone's health.

In addition to these benefits, engineered wood fiber also is a renewable product. It is made from clean, pre-consumer wood waste that is typically a byproduct of making lumber. This diverts construction waste from disposal.

Q: Our budget is stretched to the limit. Can we find a surface with a reasonable cost?

A: Engineered wood fiber is a great solution for playground owners whose budgets are under pressure. It is available at a much lower cost than other playground safety surface solutions, and the simple installation process also results in a lower cost.

Q: What about maintenance?

A: You'll get more use out of your surface if you add proper drainage. This further reduces your environmental and fiscal impact. You should also consider adding wear mats under swings and in high-traffic spots like the run-outs of slides.

Finally, be sure to ask the manufacturer about the proper thickness of engineered wood fiber under specific types of equipment.

Zeager Bros. Inc.: 800-346-8524