Safety Surfacing: What Type is Best for Your Needs?

Kids are precious and adorable and all, but let’s face it—they can sometimes get rowdy on the playground. At Gulf Coast Recreation, every playground we build has safety in mind from the ground up, starting with…the ground!

Safety Surfacing: What is it?

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Public Playground Safety Handbook (yep, it’s a real thing and we know it by heart), safety surfacing is one of the most important factors in preventing life threatening head injuries and broken bones. In fact, it’s required by law.  This is because safety surfaces are designed around the idea of shock absorption to give children a little bit of cushion when they inevitably discover the wonders of gravity.

Beyond the CPSC’s guidelines, safety surfaces have to meet certain standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). This includes fall tests from certain heights to determine what’s called the “critical height” rating of the surface. This just means that your playground shouldn’t allow for children to fall from heights greater than the rating of the safety surface you have. When you order your playground from Gulf Coast Recreation, you can rest assured that all our safety surfaces meet CPSC, ASTM, and even American Disability Act (ADA) standards.

In fact, we have four different types of compliant safety surfaces so you can choose the one that is best for your needs.

Engineered Wood Fiber

We love playground mulch because it’s our loose material option. Loose surfacing is perfect for high impact drops and skids like when a child is jumping off a swing or otherwise hitting the ground at an angle where they may slide. Not only does it give your playground an aesthetic and feel that is closer to nature. It’s also fun for the kids to watch the loose ground fly, raining safe, little bits all around them with every dash and jump.

Playground mulch is super easy to install, low cost, and very easy to maintain. All it takes is some occasional top raking and the surface will last you a good one to two years.

Synthetic Turf

If you prefer open fields full of grass rather than the wooded, forest feel, or need a surface that works both indoors and out, then our synthetic turf is a great choice.

Synthetic turf works in just about any setting from sports fields to community parks to the schoolyard. It gives children the look and feel of playing in their own grassy backyard, but without all the dirt and maintenance of real grass. Plus, it’s eco-friendly.

With synthetic turf, you never have to worry about keeping the lawn watered, there’s no stress about stains on the clothes as the kids tumble, and no landscaping damage from trampling feet. In other words: no muss, no fuss, no problem for the ten plus years that the material lasts.

Bonded Rubber Mulch

For a cleaner look to your playground, you can opt for our more solid shock absorbent surfaces like bonded rubber mulch. Another low maintenance option, bonded rubber mulch is made from recycled tires and it’s environmentally friendly. Because it’s more solid than our previous two options, bonded rubber mulch is great for younger children who are still learning to walk.

Even though it’s made from tires, bonded rubber mulch is non-toxic and still has a subtle, natural look that is great for nature trails and other outdoors environments. Its’ high durability means it will last you upward of ten years.

Poured-In-Place Rubber

The name is long and confusing, but don’t worry, remembering what it’s called is the most difficult part of having this material. Practically maintenance-free and lasting up to ten years, poured-in-place two-layer rubber consists of…well…two layers of rubber. The top layer is made up of small rubber particles that give a cleaner look than even bonded rubber mulch. Underneath this modern looking top layer are larger rubber pieces designed to maximize shock absorption.

Not only is it perfect for both indoor and outdoor use, but you can customize the colors and designs to fit your school colors, neighborhood palette, or even just personal preference. Just be ready to pay a higher price for this one compared to our more cost-effective options.

Get Your Kids Playing…Safely

It sounds cliché, but investing in children really is investing in the future. Get them the playtime they deserve with the safety they need. With Gulf Coast Recreation, you never have to compromise between fun, safety, and affordability. We have some of the best prices nationwide and guarantee honesty and integrity.