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Playground Safety Surfaces: What you Need to Know

By Whirl Construction (475 words)
Posted in Safety Surfaces on November 24, 2013

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Bonded Rubber PlaygroundSafety is paramount -- especially when it comes to children. That's why having the best playground surface at your home, school or playground is vital. The wrong surface can be harsher, presenting a more conducive environment to broken arms, bumps and bruises, which is the last thing you want when kids are supposed to be having fun.

Soft, cushiony surfaces are best and we can provide you with that. At Whirl Construction, we can install any playground you want, efficiently and affordably. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the best playground for your needs.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 200,000 children in the U.S. have experienced minor to severe injuries from unsafe playground equipment. It's wise to employ a safety check list when considering which materials to use on your playground. The CPSC recommends you:

  • Make sure surfaces feature at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, or sand, or are lined with mats made of safety-tested rubber.
  • Ensure protective surfacing is placed beyond at least 6 feet in all directions from the play equipment.
  • Check that the surfacing extends twice the height of the suspending bar, both in front and in back.
  • Regularly check that the playground surfaces and equipment are in good condition.
  • Check for protruding bolt ends, as well as sharp points and edges.
  • Remove tripping hazards, such as tree stumps, rocks and worn surface areas.

According to the National Program for Playground Safety, separate playground areas for preschoolers and school-age children are necessary, as these two age groups are developmentally different and require equipment that caters to varying skill levels. Also, equipment for older kids tends to be much higher, which is great for a middle schooled student but could pose a big safety problem for a kindergartener.

The NPPS says acceptable surfaces for playgrounds include wood fiber, sand, mulch, pea gravel and rubber tiles, but playgrounds should never feature concrete, grass, asphalt, dirt, blacktop, or rocks. Rubber mats and other smooth surfaces not only cushion kids in the event of a fall, they also provide a smooth surface for wheelchairs, says KidsHealth.

Adults should always check for hot surfaces on playground equipment in the summer time before kids can play, to prevent burns on the skin. Hot UV rays from the sun can heat up a slide surface in no time. But it doesn't always have to be a summer scorcher for it to burn. The CPSC advises checking for hot equipment surfaces even on a mild day. Taking all of these considerations into account before heading to the playground with your children can mean the difference between fun and an injury.

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International Playground Contractors Association New Jersey Recreation and Park Association Certified Playground Safety Inspectors Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute