Safe Surface Materials For Playgrounds
The number one safety measure for playgrounds is the surface kids play on. No matter how well you supervise children and how well the equipment is designed with safety in mind, occasional falls are inevitable. Playgrounds with asphalt or concrete underneath can lead to serious head injuries if a child falls. Grass or dirt might be a little softer but it can also become dangerous too. Alternates surfaces like loose-fill materials and cushioning mats are good, but these surfaces cannot completely protect children from getting hurt. Also, the problem is that some playgrounds with soft surfaces don’t cover a wide enough area. The playground surface should extend out twice as far as the height of the swing, slide, or tubes from both the front and back and should extend at least six feet in all directions from the end of the playground.
Here are three of the best alternate surfaces to keep children safe:
Mulch and Chips
Shredded mulch and wood chips are popular loose fill surface materials because they are easy to obtain, easy to install, and inexpensive. A retaining barrier is required to contain the material, and the loose fill has to be replenished often.
Sand and Pea Gravel
Sand and pea gravel is inexpensive and easy to install. Maintenance is required like mulch and wood chips. The disadvantages of sand are that it can blow into children’s eyes and can become hard-packed when wet; but it is still softer than concrete. Making regular replacements is necessary.
Mats and Tiles
Rubbery mats and tiles come in a variety of synthetic materials and require little maintenance. They don’t hide sharp objects or animal waste as loose fill can. The disadvantage is that mats cost a lot more initially and require professional installation.
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