Statistics indicate that nearly 70 percent of all playground injuries are related to falls to the surface. Purchasers need to ask the following questions in order to implement appropriate surfaces:
• What is the appropriate surface material needed?
• What is the height of the equipment on the playground?
• What is the depth needed for the surfacing?
• Where should the surfacing be placed?
• Does it meet American Society for Testing & Materials standards and CPSC guidelines?
• Does it have a proven track record in similar climates?
• Is it readily available?
• Will it meet the playground’s needs as far as durability, drainage, and accessibility?
Playground safety experts highly recommend the use of various loose-fill or synthetic surface materials. The selection of cushioned surfacing varies from playground to playground. Acceptable loose-fill materials include:
• Hardwood wooden fiber
• Shredded rubber
• Pea gravel
*Surfaces such as asphalt, cement, dirt and grass are not acceptable surfaces under and around playground equipment.
Resources for further education on proper surfacing include Selecting Playground Surface Materials (pamphlet) and Safe Surfaces (video).