Playground Surfacing Options
If you’re building a playground in your community, you have most likely spent a significant amount of time and resources researching the playground equipment that’s right for your patrons. Choosing play equipment is fun, but don’t overlook the importance of your playground surfacing. The type of playground surfacing you choose will have a meaningful effect on your patrons’ safety and overall experience.
Comparing playground surfacing types and choosing the safety surfacing that is right for your community is easy when you choose Playworld. Review the playground safety surface material options available, and contact us for more information about the playground surfacing that’s right for your community.
Basic Playground Injury Statistics
Three major factors help determine the severity of an injury sustained from a playground accident: the speed at which a child falls, the distance he or she falls, and the type of playground surfacing onto which they fall. Although minor cuts, bumps and scrapes account for the vast majority of playground injuries, sometimes a more serious injury occurs. You may not be able to control every aspect of your patrons’ playground experience, but you can control the quality of your play equipment and the surfacing under and around it.
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Slips, spills and falls are inevitable on the playground. That means protecting your patrons against the potentially devastating consequences of an accident is essential. Your Playworld representative can walk you through all your playground surfacing options, to ensure you choose the playground surfacing that meets your community's needs.
Playground Safety Starts at the Surface
There are several kinds of playground surfaces for you to consider. They include:
How you choose your playground surfacing depends on the purpose of your playground, the type of equipment you purchase and your budget. Your local Playworld representative is happy to help you choose the best playground surface material that is right for your specific needs.
Unitary Playground Surfacing
Unitary playground surfacing is the preferred surfacing for a truly inclusive playgroundbecause unitary surfaces make it easier for individuals who use mobility equipment to participate safely and comfortably on the playground. Not every unitary surface is right for every playground space, however. Examples of unitary playground surfaces include:
Loose-Fill Playground Surfacing
There are several advantages to loose-fill playground surfaces such as wood chips and rubber mulch. These solutions are cost-effective, traditional playground surfacing favorites because of their excellent shock-absorbing properties. The downside of loose-fill playground surfaces includes the regular maintenance required to keep the playground surface at a safe and somewhat even depth.
Because loose-fill thins out over time, replacing it is necessary — perhaps as frequently as every year. Nevertheless, loose-fill surfaces are a great surfacing solution for non-traditional playground elements, such as Origins™ Natural Playground equipment. You can minimize loose-fill surface replacement costs with Border Timbers from Playworld, which are interlocking border elements that keep loose-fill materials in the playspace. Made from 100% recycled plastic, they won't splinter or crack like conventional wood.
Your loose-fill options include:
Playground Mats for High-Traffic Areas
Once you’ve selected your surfacing, you’ll need to make sure you protect your investment. Loose-fill surfacing can move, shift, and suffer erosion, especially in high-traffic areas or in spots where impact happens often. For example, the areas under swings and slides can eventually develop pits and grooves from repeated impact from small feet.
Erosion is a serious concern. It can be costly to have to replace your surfacing frequently and thinner or missing surfacing in areas can be unsafe for children. When parts of the playground surface thin or wear down, the appearance can be unsightly, too.
To address this, playground mats are one option. Rubber playground mats, such as wear mats, are actually made from a blend of materials, such as resin-bound recycled rubber and polyurethane. They don’t replace other surfacing options, but they do protect the playground and the kids.
Designed to prevent erosion in those areas of your playground that see more impact, outdoor playground rubber mats are simple to install and don’t usually need stakes or additional devices, meaning you can add them as needed to protect the surface under bars, swings, and other equipment. When installing wear mats, ensure they are installed with enough impact-absorbing, loose-fill surfacing for the right level of protection.
SMARTE® Playground Surfacing
SMARTE is a hybrid playground surface that uses recycled rubber mulch in filled pillows with a unitary top layer. SMARTE meets all Americans with Disabilities Act Accessible Guidelines while providing superior impact protection at average critical fall heights up to 10’, well beyond standard requirements. SMARTE by Playworld encourages inclusive play while providing stability and slip resistance. It is made from recycled materials and can be further reused, repurposed and recycled. If you purchase SMARTE at the same time you purchase your Playworld play equipment, we can install it at the same time, which saves you time and manpower.
SMARTE is durable. It returns to its original shape after impact, instead of compressing over time. It retains its flexibility and durability in all climates, and it’s eco-friendly and cost-effective. You can move the foundation of SMARTE to a new location, and you can also apply a new top layer without replacing the foundation layer underneath. The top layer of SMARTE gives your playspace an attractive appearance while protecting your patrons.
Contact Playworld for More Information
Playworld is happy to provide more information about each of the playground surface options identified above. We’ll evaluate your space and use requirements, and make a recommendation that suits your safety requirements for critical fall height and budgetary needs. Your local Playworld representative will help you determine the type and quantity of surfacing you'll need to make your playground safe and accessible. At Playworld, we’re ready to provide you and your community with great play experiences.Contact us today for more information.