As parents, we all want our children to be happy and healthy, and playing on a playground is an important part of that. However, safety should always come first when it comes to playtime.
One of the most critical safety considerations for playgrounds is the type of surfacing used. In this article, we will explore which playground surfacing is the safest for your children. Learn how to design a safe playground.
Types of Playground Surfacing
In the United Kingdom, choosing the right playground surfacing is critical to ensure the safety of children playing in playgrounds. In order to ensure the playground surfacing project is done properly, you will want a company that are experts at tarmac surfacing.
Here are some of the types of playground surfacing to consider:
- Natural Surfaces
Natural surfaces like grass and sand are common in playgrounds, especially in smaller parks or residential areas.
They are cost-effective and can create a natural and aesthetically pleasing play area. However, natural surfaces do not provide much protection against falls, and they may not meet safety standards. They may also require frequent maintenance and replacement.
- Loose-fill Surfaces
Loose-fill surfaces are designed to provide cushioning in case of falls. Examples of loose-fill materials include wood chips, sand, and rubber mulch.
These materials are affordable and easy to install, making them a popular choice for playgrounds. They also offer some level of protection against falls, although they may require regular topping up or replacement to maintain their effectiveness.
- Unitary Surfaces
Unitary surfaces like poured-in-place rubber and rubber tiles provide a seamless surface that is slip-resistant, durable, and offers excellent protection against falls. The materials used to meet safety standards and provide a stable and secure play area.
However, they are more expensive than other types of surfacing and require professional installation.
- Artificial Turf
Artificial turf is a relatively new option for playground surfacing in the UK. It provides a uniform surface that is easy to maintain and offers excellent protection against falls.
Artificial turf can also withstand different weather conditions, making it a suitable option for playgrounds located in areas with harsh weather conditions. However, it can be costly and may require professional installation.
- Engineered Wood Fibre
Engineered wood fibre is made from wood chips that are processed to create a soft and cushioned surface that can protect against falls.
It is a popular choice for playgrounds as it meets safety standards and provides a natural-looking surface. Engineered wood fibre is also long-lasting and requires minimal maintenance. However, it can be expensive and may not be suitable for all climates.
PS: Choosing the right type of playground surfacing depends on several factors including:
It is essential to consult with playground experts and ensure that the surfacing meets safety standards before making a decision.
Choosing the Safest Playground Surfacing
When it comes to choosing the safest playground surfacing for your children in the UK, there are several crucial factors to keep in mind.
Here are the top considerations you should take into account:
- Critical Fall Height (CFH)
The CFH of your playground equipment will determine the type of surfacing required. In the UK, the standard CFH for most playground equipment is 1.2 metres. However, some equipment may have a higher CFH, which means you will need a thicker, more cushioned surface to protect against falls.
- Age and Developmental Stage of Your Child
Children of different ages and developmental stages require different levels of protection. Younger children, such as toddlers and pre-schoolers, are more likely to fall and require more protective surfacing. Older children, on the other hand, may require less protection as they have better balance and coordination skills.
- Location and Climate
The location and climate where the playground will be installed are also critical factors to consider. In the UK, where the weather can be unpredictable, it’s important to choose a surfacing material that can withstand all weather conditions.
Some materials, like natural grass, may become slippery when wet, making them unsafe in rainy weather.
- Safety Guidelines and Regulations
In the UK, playground surfacing must meet certain safety standards to ensure the safety of children. The European Standard EN1177 sets out the requirements for safety surfacing and impact attenuation properties. It’s important to follow these standards to ensure that your child is playing on a safe surface.
- Durability and Maintenance
Finally, consider the durability and maintenance requirements of the surfacing material. Choose a material that is durable and requires minimal maintenance to ensure that the playground remains safe for your children for years to come.
Some materials, like rubber mulch or wet pour surfacing, require regular maintenance, while others, like artificial grass or rubber tiles, require very little maintenance.
Choosing the safest playground surfacing for your children is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration of several factors.
By considering the critical fall height of the equipment, the age and developmental stage of your child, the location and climate, safety guidelines and regulations, and the durability and maintenance of the surfacing material, you can ensure that your child has a safe and enjoyable experience at the playground.
Remember, investing in high-quality surfacing may require a bit more upfront cost, but the peace of mind it provides and the protection it offers your child is priceless. So, choose wisely and let your children play with confidence!