When it comes to designing a safe Playground Surfaces material is often one of the most important components. Quality surfacing can help prevent minor falls from becoming nasty injuries, and ensure that children are always playing on impact-absorbing surfaces. However the number of options available can be overwhelming for those tasked with selecting a safe, accessible, and cost-effective playground surface.
Whether you’re choosing a unitary or loose-fill surface, there are some important factors to consider. Most importantly, the surface should be field-tested and certified to comply with ADA and CPSC safety standards for running slope, cross slope, openings, changes in level, and vertical clearance around accessible equipment. Additionally, it’s crucial that the surface be designed and installed so that it complies with ASTM technical provisions for both resiliency for falls (ASTM F1292-99/04) and impact attenuation (ASTM F1951-99).
Eco-Friendly Options for Sustainable Playground Surfaces
Loose-fill playground surfacing is made of a variety of materials, including engineered wood fibers, sand, pea gravel, wood chips, and other natural or synthetic materials. These surfaces offer cushioning and absorption, keep the ground dry, and are relatively inexpensive to install. However, they can become slick and require regular maintenance, including raking, compacting, and topping-up, to meet safety standards.
Unitary surfaces include rubber tiles, artificial turf, and poured-in-place or PIP rubber. These surfaces are a popular choice for commercial playgrounds, as they provide ample cushioning and accessibility while also being long-lasting and durable. They’re also easy to maintain, and can be easily replaced if damaged.