In the previous post, we talked about the number of injuries that occur on playgrounds every year. Combined, they rise to a whopping 500,000, more than half of which result from falls to a playground surface not designed to ensure safety.
Recognizing these facts, many organizations, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), have issued guidelines and standards for playground surfaces.
For example, a playground safety checklist developed by the CPSC includes the following guidelines for surfaces:
- Check that protective surfacing extends at least 6 feet in all directions from play equipment. For swings, be sure surfacing extends, in back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar.
- Check playgrounds regularly to see that equipment and surfacing are in good condition.
Some surfaces commonly used for playgrounds do not provide adequate protection from the effects of falling. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) state that the type of surface on the playground is the most important factor in the number and severity of injuries due to falls, and that the number and severity of injuries can be reduced by using softer surfaces.
"Hard surfaces, such as asphalt and concrete, would result in the most severe injuries and are unsuitable under any playground equipment," AAOS said.
Even surfaces such as soil, packed dirt, grass and turf are not recommended for surfacing. What starts out as a thick layer of lush green grass can, over time, wear away leaving a dirt surface that either turns to mud in wet weather or dries to a hard crust in dry weather.
A consumer product safety alert (PDF) issued by the CPSC echoed that sentiment when it said, "Never Put Children's Climbing Gyms on Hard Surfaces, Indoors or Outdoors.”
Not only must playground surfaces be safe, they should also comply with requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which mandate that playground surfaces offer easy mobility for children in wheelchairs.
Meeting these dual objectives limits the number of types of surfaces that can be considered by responsible playground owners and operators.
Each of the safety surfaces we provide - poured-in-place rubber surfacing, rubber mulch, and rubber tiles - meet these requirements.
In fact, our poured-in-place safety surface, which consists of a unique combination of EPDM/TPV rubber granules and a cushion layer of shredded recycled rubber tires bound together by a European polymer, is specially designed to provide critical fall height protection for children on playgrounds.
It is a seamless, slip-resistant surface that is ASTM F-1292 compliant and ADA approved, and can be used either indoors or outdoors.
As was said in the last post, we have children too. We want to ensure their safety, and the safety of your children, as well. It’s the reason we’re in business.