Kids of all ages enjoy having a place to play and commune with others, and playgrounds should be designed to meet those needs safely. Long gone are the days of rusty swings, unforgiving ground surfaces and hard equipment that youngsters can get hurt on easily. Today, a modern playground will feature equipment with safety surfacing materials, ample shade and appropriate ground cover that helps prevent injuries. Here are some safety aspects that should be considered when developing, constructing or renovating a playground.
Playground Equipment Safety Surfacing
The greatest innovation in playground safety surfacing materials are rubberized cushioning materials of various thicknesses and different levels of flexibility. Rubberized settings help reduce injuries caused by falls by offering a softer surface atop equipment and even the ground covering in certain layouts. Furthermore, rubber materials are non-skid surfaces and help prevent falling, which enhances playground safety by leaps and bounds. Two predominant types of rubberized surfacing include:
Pour-in-Place—Also called unitary rubber playground surfacing, pour-in-place is similar to running track materials. It is created by pouring molten materials into pre-made forms that result in a flexible surface.
Rubber Crumb—Also called loose-fill rubber surfacing or rubber mulch, rubber crumb consists of small grains of free floating rubber particulates.
Areas surrounding play equipment can also feature foam-filled blocks that allow for climbing and jumping or even sitting for a break. These blocks are excellent for toddlers just learning to walk, as they can offer little ones something to hold onto as they traverse the playground.
Ultra-Safe Ground Cover Replacement
The fun doesn’t have to end due to a fall or trip when the ground beneath the feet is soft and more forgiving than dirt or traditional grass. Instead, consider playground-safe ground cover surfaces around and under equipment to help absorb shocks from jumps and falls. This not only helps prevent serious injuries and impacts, but it eases pressure on the joints that can cause aches at the end of the day. There are many options concerning playground underfoot surfacing including rubber mulch, pour in place, wood fiber and artificial turf.
Wood fiber is highly economical and differs from bark mulch in that it is a higher quality fiber that offer superior impact resistance. However, the ground cover of choice for many developers involves artificial grass such as the SYNLawn Playground System. SYNLawn follows the highest protocol concerning materials and installation protocols, allowing it to be excellent in high-traffic areas that have any type of weather conditions.
No Fault PlaySafe 50 Playground Turf is another option to consider, and this product boasts an UltraLock backing system and HydroChill Evaporative Cooling technology to keep the play area cooler on hot days. This surface is also features Bac-Shield Antimicrobial to inhibit the growth of mildew and mold for a more hygienic environment for users. Artificial turf is low maintenance and can be included in ADA accessible designs.
Sun Shielding Shade Structures
Ultraviolet rays pose a serious threat to both pets and people, so having a bit of shade atop play and seating areas is a great way to play it safe. There will be less need to be concerned about sunburns, heat-induced illness and potential boo-boos that can result from hot surfaces with strategically placed shade structures in the playground.
Learn More About Playground Safety Surfaces at May Recreation
Let our experienced playground professionals help you meet your safety goals quickly and affordable. Contact May Recreation online or call 800-964-6301 for more information or to schedule a consultation.