A commercial playground is a wonderland for children, where they make lasting memories of camaraderie, joyfulness, and laughter. While playground equipment includes slides, swings, and climbers, playground surfacing is essential for ensuring the safety of children while they play. 

Reports of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that 200,000+ children face playground-related injuries in the USA every year. Thus, investing in quality playground surfacing is equally essential in promoting the well-being of children during playtime. 

In this blog, we will explore playground safety elements and standards and the importance of regularly maintaining and inspecting surfacing to ensure its effectiveness. Keep reading for more information on tips on choosing the right surfacing options for your playground. 

Know About Necessary School Playground Equipment

Unwrapping Different Types of Playground Surfaces 

Playground surfacing options are broadly categorized into two parts – loose-fill playground surfacing and unitary playground surfacing. 

Loose fill playground surfacing

Loose fill playground surfacing is composed of bulky materials. Not bound together, these surfacing options give room for flexibility and are shock-absorbent. Some of the most common types of loose-fill playground surfacing elements include:

  1. Engineered Wood Fiber: It is also known as kiddie cushion. Having high shock attenuation properties and low installation cost, it is a widely used surfacing element. It, thereby, accounts for more than 75% of all surfacing options.
  2. Rubber Mulch: This green surfacing element is composed of recycled rubber tires. It has a variety of color options. It doesn’t decompose easily because it is a durable and non-porous material. Moreover, it has the best impact-absorbing property among all the loose-fill playground surfacing elements. 

Unitary playground surfacing

Unitary playground surfacing is composed of a single-layer, solid material, making the play area impact-absorbent, continuous, and seamless. This provides continuous cushioning to prevent falls. 

    1. Poured-in-Place Rubber: It can be used as a variety of thickness levels, meeting different impact attenuation requirements. It is available in multiple color options and can be customized according to any playground theme.
    2. Rubber Tiles: Used both indoors and outdoors, it gives a smooth texture to the playground surfacing. It is durable and easy to repair, excellent for playgrounds with high footfalls. 
    3. Synthetic Turf with Padding: It gives a more natural look to the playground, and the padding beneath ensures impact absorption. It also offers outstanding drainage, promoting cleanliness and resistance to mold, bacteria, and mildew. 

Decoding Playground Safety Standards and Regulations 

Playground surfacing safety standards and regulations ensure the safety of children. These standards generally impact accessibility, attenuation, and non-toxicity criteria.  Here are those safety standards for playground surfacing. 

1. ASTM international standards 

There are certain ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials) standards directly related to playground safety standards. Below are those standards: 

  • ASTM F1292: It conducts a test procedure that determines the critical fall height for the impact of surfacing materials. 
  • ASTM F1951: It determines the stability and firmness of playground surfacing.
  • ASTM F2075: It tests whether the equipment has engineered wood fiber playground surfacing.
  • ASTM F2479: It determines the characteristics of poured-in-place rubber surfacing. It tests the characteristics by complying with ASTM-1292, 1951 and other durability requirements. 
  • ASTM F3313: It tests the playground surface for impact attenuation at a specific height to prevent severe falls. 


2. ADA compliance requirements 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has established standards for playground surfacing. Some of those general requirements under the ADA are:

  • It utilizes a firm, stable, and slip-resistant surface of playground equipment. 
  • It accommodates children who use wheelchairs, walkers, and other types of mobility aids.
  • It ensures that the playground surfacing cushions potentially fall sufficiently. 

How Can You Maintain a Playground Surface? 

Maintenance tasks are as important as adhering to the playground safety standards. Here are the important tips for empowering the playground surface with comfort and safety. 

  1. Ensure playground surface equipment has not less than 12 inches of wood chips, sand, mulch, or pea gravel
  2. The surface should be made of safety-tested rubber
  3. Ensure that the protective surface extends not less than 6 feet in all directions from equipment. 
  4. Swings should extend the protective surface from both back and front. It should be twice the height of the suspending bar.
  5. Play equipment more than 30 inches in height must have a space of a minimum of 9 feet.
  6. Check equipment to prevent those from dangerous hardware such as “S” hooks or bulging bolt ends. 
  7. Spaces between ladder rings or openings in guardrails should not measure less than 3.5 inches and more than 9 inches.
  8. Check for tripping dangers such as concrete footings, rocks, and tree stumps.
  9. Platforms or ramps should house guardrails to prevent falls.
  10. Supervise children to ensure their safety on playgrounds. 

How Can You Choose the Right Commercial Playground Surfacing?

While selecting the playground surfacing, it is crucial to prioritize safety. Choosing materials that are impact-absorbing and non-toxic creates a safe and enjoyable environment for children to play in. We understand that you may feel overwhelmed seeing so many options for safety surfacing. In that case, it can become difficult for you to decide the best surfacing solution for the playground. 

Our experts at All Play are pleased to extend their suggestions for choosing the surfacing solution that is apt for your project. 

Our mission is to provide a safe environment for children while playing. We also carry a comprehensive range of surfacing accessories, such as synthetic turf, rubber mulch, kiddie cushions, and accessible ramps. No matter how less your budget is, All Play offers a wide variety of compliant surfacing options that will make your playground risk-free and enjoyable.



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