Child’s Play: Ensuring Safety With the Right Playground Surfacing

playground safety surfacing

Children at play are full of energy, curiosity and an insatiable desire for fun. However, this playful enthusiasm can sometimes lead to unintended accidents, with trips, falls and tumbles being common on playgrounds. 

Ensuring the safety of young adventurers using your playground is paramount – and choosing the right playground safety surfacing plays a vital role in this endeavor. 

The Importance of Safety Surfacing in Playgrounds 

Playgrounds are vibrant spaces where children can run, jump, have fun with their friends and explore their surroundings. Alongside the laughter and joy, there’s also the added risk of accidents from tripping and falling. If not adequately prevented, these accidents can spoil the fun and result in injuries. 

Playground safety surfacing also ensures accessibility for all children, which is not only a matter of inclusivity but also a legal requirement. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that playgrounds must provide accessible routes and play areas for children with mobility issues, such as those in crutches or wheelchairs. 

Choosing the right safety surfacing for your playground not only mitigates the risk of injuries but also ensures you remain compliant with ADA standards. 

6 Common Types of Playground Surfaces

1. Poured-in-Place Rubber Safety Surfacing 

Poured-in-place rubber safety surfacing has gained popularity due to its seamless installation, design flexibility and low maintenance requirements.

It’s poured on-site and hand-troweled over existing surfaces, making it suitable for playgrounds with irregular surfaces and slopes. With PIP rubber surfacing solutions such as Softroc®, you can effortlessly create smooth, cushioned flooring for children to run and play on, no matter the terrain of your playground. 

Poured-in-place rubber surfacing also provides excellent accessibility. What makes it better is that it’s non-slip, shock-absorbing and easily customizable into various patterns and designs, making it a safe and exciting choice for active play. 

Finally, the resulting playground rubber flooring is highly durable, withstanding heavy foot traffic. It can also resist damage from ultraviolet light, extreme temperature fluctuations and chemicals, providing you with playground surfacing built to look good and last years. 

2. Prefabricated Rubber Tile Surfacing 

Prefab rubber tiles are made from densely pressed rubber, offering a durable option with a long lifespan. They come in multiple color options, allowing playground owners to achieve creative patterns and shapes on their floors. 

The good thing with prefabricated rubber tile surfacing is that it requires little maintenance and creates an insect-resistant and easy-to-clean surface. However, it is best installed over a hard base, like concrete or asphalt, and by certified and experienced professionals. 

3. Artificial Grass / Synthetic Turf Safety Surfacing

Synthetic turf or artificial grass mimics the look and feel of natural grass, providing a soft and realistic play surface without the maintenance requirements of the real thing. It is also suitable for year-round use, offers exceptional durability and can be installed even on slopes. 

Moreover, this playground safety surfacing adds a shock pad layer, providing extra protection and a soft landing for falls. However, some types of artificial turf may not absorb the impact from falls as effectively as poured-in-place surfacing. Artificial grass rolls can create seams or form lumps that cause tripping hazards without proper installation. 

4. Pea Gravel 

Pea gravel is an inexpensive loose-fill surfacing option that’s easy to install and drains well. 

One significant concern with pea gravel, however, is that it can be challenging to traverse for children in wheelchairs or using other mobility devices. Additionally, a curious child can easily pick up its small pieces and put them in their nose, ears or mouth.

The most crucial thing to note is that pea gravel can hide dangerous objects like broken glass beneath its surface, making frequent maintenance critical in ensuring children’s safety. 

5. Playground Sand 

Playground sand is a traditional surfacing option known for its affordability. However, while it offers a cushioning effect for falls, continuous maintenance is required to maintain the ideal surface level and keep it free from harmful objects. Sand surfaces also may not meet the ADA standards of accessibility without installing appropriate pathways around them.  

6. Engineered Wood Fiber Surfacing 

Engineered wood fiber (EWF) creates a smooth, accessible surface with good impact absorption. It’s also easy to install and stays in place better than other loose-fill materials. 

While EWF is a cost-effective choice, one disadvantage is that it requires regular maintenance, especially if it is installed in high-use areas. It must also be kept at the correct depth of at least nine inches to ensure safe landings and meet safety standards. 

Choosing the Right Surfacing Solution for Your Playground 

One of the first factors typically considered when choosing among the different types of playground surfaces is the budget. However, it also helps to look beyond the initial costs and think about the long-term benefits of your potential flooring solution, especially in terms of safety and comfort. When it comes to your playground, the children’s safety should be your top priority. 

When it comes to safety, poured-in-place rubber surfacing stands out. This type of surfacing not only minimizes the risk of injuries but also offers a comfortable and enjoyable play environment for children. Add its accessibility, design flexibility, durability and low maintenance, and you’ll surely find a smart investment for your playground. 

Take Your Playground’s Safety to the Next Level with Softroc® Rubber Safety Surfacing

Softroc® is a cutting-edge rubber safety surfacing solution you can harness to transform your playground and turn it into your ideal space. There’s no need to compromise beauty for safety or vice versa. This playground rubber flooring boasts excellent fall protection and slip resistance and comes in customizable colors and patterns, allowing you to provide the most memorable park experience.   

If you’re ready to add safety, comfort and excitement to your outdoor play area or home gym, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team for a free consultation. We’ll be happy to bring your vision to life through long-lasting surfaces.  

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