Buying Guide: Surfacing

Having the appropriate safety surfacing in your playground is absolutely critical. Every year, more than 200,000 playground related injuries are treated in emergency rooms across the United States, and the vast majority of these injuries (over 70%) are due to falls to the ground. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) playground safety guidelines require all playground equipment to have an impact attenuating safety surfacing in place to help prevent critical head injuries. Safety surfacing must be International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) tested AND approved in order to be compliant for playground use. Your surfacing should also allow your playground to be accessible to those with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

The right surfacing for your playground will depend on many factors such as how much you would like to spend (including upfront cost as well as cost of maintenance), how frequently the playground is used and by how many children, and your site conditions (drainage, climate, etc.). Your consultant will be able to assist you in deciding which safety surfacing will fit the parameters of your project.

* Not ADA compliant

Playground safety surfacing options are usually divided into two types of surfacing: Loose Fill and Unitary

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