Choosing the Best Playground Surfaces for Safety
Safety is one of the most important aspects when it comes down to playgrounds for children. All of the equipment on the playground must be safety approved, and meet strict guidelines and requirements to guarantee minimal injuries during playtime. Playground surfaces should not be an exception. When choosing playground surfaces, the safety that each material offers should be one of the main considerations.
While there are many different playground surfaces available on the market for those constructing a playground, different playground surfaces possess their own advantages in hosting a safe environment. Among all the surfaces, rubber mats have become one of the most popular choices as they limit the amount of potential dangers around.
Similar to loose-filled materials the rubber mats are shock absorbers, and are great materials for environments that may experience earthquakes. In addition, they provide exceptional padding for falls and will limit the amount of injuries experienced; this soft padding will prevent a large amount of broken bones, sprained tendons and bruises experienced by the children playing on its surfaces. Remember that some children play rough.
Rubber mats provide an additional safety benefit that loose-filled materials cannot. Sand, shredded rubber and wooden chips can easily conceal dangerous items within their depths. Glass shards, pins and needles can easily be hidden among the content, and is extremely difficult to spot. In addition, loose-filled surfaces cannot be installed on top of hard surfaces, and will compress over time creating a harder surface than before. If it is not constantly renewed, the harder surface can also pose as a danger.
The flat surface of rubber mats allow dangers to be easily spotted, and for easier access for the children. There is less of a probability that children will trip over any obstacles when they are running around. This provides a huge convenience for them. Handicapped children who require wheelchairs or crutches will also vouch that rubber mat playground surfaces as more convenient and accessible.
The texture of playground surfaces is an aspect to question. Sand and wooden chips have a coarse texture to their surfaces that can scrape a child’s skin easily. In fact, many small scrapes and injuries are caused by the playground’s surface. Wooden chips are notorious for their splinters. One wrong move and a child will experience tens of splinters lodged into their skin. Sandy surfaces when wet become hard and coarse. All in all, loose-filled surfaces provide a potential where children can injure one another. Rubber mats, on the other hand, provide a smooth surface that lasts a good while.
The hygiene provided by rubber mat surfaces alone is a great added benefit. Sand and wooden chips have been known to harbor dirt as it is harder to clean. Rubber matted surfaces can be easily wiped or hosed down.
Among the playground surfaces available on the market, rubber mats are definitely in the lead for their safety, and are highly recommended by many. While the price for installation may be a tad more expensive than the loose-filled materials, they require less renewals and maintenance over time. In addition, this type of surface has great durability, and will last for a long time to come.