Keeping the children in your care safe is a top priority when they are having fun in the playground. A lot of attention goes to the equipment when the playground is being designed or upgraded, but one important area can be overlooked, and that is the surfacing.
Interestingly, safety surfacing is one of the most important aspects of a playground and its safety levels. There are over 40,000 injuries to children on playgrounds annually that result in a trip to the hospital, and 40% of those usually relate to equipment incidents. Of those incidents, 80% relate to a fall injury, with swings being the equipment children most commonly fall from in playgrounds (most likely through the popularity of the swings, rather than the swings being more dangerous than other structures).
Falls in playgrounds can be prevented in various ways, such as children using the right equipment for their age group, the installation of safe equipment, and supervision in place to ensure equipment is used safely. If children do happen to have a fall in the playground, though, with the right safety surfacing they have a better chance of sustaining a less serious injury. In fact, safety surfacing is useful in the same way for any setting where a fall is more likely, such as sports areas.
Is Safety Surfacing Legally Required In Play Areas?
No, safety surfacing is not required by law on children’s playgrounds, but it is recommended in the majority of playground health and safety documents, legislation and guidance.
Are There Additional Benefits To Safety Surfacing In Playgrounds?
Enhanced safety is the priority with surfacing in playgrounds, but there are some additional benefits, such as the ability to create a beautiful, bright aesthetic to match the equipment and fun spirit of the area.
Different Safety Surfacing For Playgrounds
There are a huge range of options when it comes to safety surfacing for playgrounds including; grass, loose-fill and synthetic surfaces. Here’s an overview of the most popular safety surface types for playgrounds:
Artificial Grass/ Vivid Grass/ Needlepunch Grass
Needlepunch, artificial and vivid grass are similar products that are applied in slightly different ways to an outdoor play space:
Artificial grass is bright, attractive, offers a softer impact absorbing surface, and it is durable, easy to maintain and long-lasting. On its own, it isn’t as safe as alternatives when it comes to playground surfacing, but shock pads can be placed underneath to enhance overall shock absorption and safety levels.
Vivid Grass is like artificial grass but it’s available in bright, beautiful colours so that you can enhance your playground area far beyond the look and feel of standard artificial grass. It’s the perfect option if you’re looking for the soft texture and easy maintenance of artificial grass, but you want to utilise the vast array of colour options available with vivid grass, for even more visual impact in your outdoor play space.
Needlepunch sports surfacing is a similar option to artificial grass if you want safety surfacing for your school sports area that is beautiful, safe, durable and very easy to maintain. It also comes in a huge range of colour options and design possibilities, making it ideal for ensuring your outdoor area is bespoke to your exact specifications and needs.
Grass guard is the perfect way to protect a playground with lush, real grass surfacing. Real grass can yellow and become eroded from areas with high foot traffic, like the area under swings. Grass guard helps to keep the grass alive and in better condition, for better playground aesthetics and overall natural surface protection.
Bark Chippings/ Bark Pit
Bark is softer to touch and darker than the kind of wood chip you would find used in horticulture. Bark is a great surfacing option for playgrounds because it is safe, looks great and plays to the natural outdoor surroundings of the playground. The highest grade of bark chippings is Deluxe Hardwood Chip which has the majority of dust and fine particles removed from it, as well as a high level of fire resistance.
Rubber Mulch/ Wet Pour/ Spongy Tarmac
Rubber mulch is also known as wet pour and spongy tarmac. It can be placed directly onto a hard surface as long as the surface is in good condition. It can also be placed onto a pre-prepared base. It’s an incredibly versatile safety surface because it is laid wet, which means that you can create a dynamic play area with all kinds of shapes and contours.
With a huge range of bright wet pour colours available, you can also greatly enhance the aesthetic of your playground with this option. You’ll also be pleased to know that wet pour is also almost completely free from maintenance needs and is known for being great value and cost-effective, compared to other options.
Speak To Sovereign Play Equipment Today To Choose The Perfect Safety Surfacing For Your Playground
If you would love to enhance your school outdoor area with safer surfacing options, speak to Sovereign Play today to find out about the different options available and how they could work for you. Expert design, high quality products and installation, plus fantastic maintenance and warranty details mean your playground safety surfacing will go on enhancing your outdoor space many seasons after it’s been placed. Speak to Sovereign today to find out more.