What Is My Playground’s Fall Protection?

What Is My Playground’s Fall Protection?

Fall protection is a number that is assigned to help judge the safety of a playground’s surface. Fall protection is obviously going to be different depending on if you have an asphalt playground or if you have Sof’Fall engineered wood fibers

Let’s get one thing out of the way right at the start and that is that there is no simple formula where you can plug in a few numbers and get an easy answer. If that’s why you started reading this then we figured we’d break it to you early on. Answering the question ‘what is my playground’s fall protection’ isn’t that simple but with these tips we hope you can get a general idea of the playground safety of your child’s favorite playground. 

“Gravity does not care at all whether or not your child is playing on gravel or a soft playground surfacing.” 

We want to put soft playground material under the feet of every child to catch them when they fall down.

How to judge fall protection

The best way to judge fall protection is the simple eye test. This isn’t anyone’s favorite especially in our world of data and results but it can work in extreme circumstances. You don’t have to be a genius to see that the hard, compact dirt surface your child is playing on will not be too forgiving to anyone who falls down. Same thing goes with a nice engineered wood fiber surface. If there is a soft playground surface with absorbent and safe materials, the simple eye test makes you feel better about the latter example here than the former.

Contact The Right Person

 I’d be willing to bet that if you walked up to another mom in the park while you are watching you kids play on the playground and sit down next to her and say, “What do you think this material’s fall protection is?” you would get a weird look. We said at the very beginning of this article that there isn’t an easy formula that you can just do in your head to find out the fall protection of your playground surfacing. While this is true, someone somewhere has to know how safe these playground materials are. 

The beginning point for each person and each playground is going to be different but ask yourself, who would know the answer here. If it is your community playground, contact someone in the local government. If it is your child’s playground at school, talk to someone in the administration. People will either know the answer or be able to find someone to get you the answer. 

Do Your Own Research

Like most things in today’s world a simple Google search will prove very telling. Most dealers and playground surfacing manufacturers post information about their products. For example, Sof’Fall is proud to share the fact that our engineered wood fibers boast a 25 foot fall protection. We are also happy to answer any other questions you might have about our product. Do some research and we promise you’ll at least get a little bit better understanding about what your children are playing on. 

 

We've been catching children when they fall for over 27 Years

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Benefits Of A Community Playground

Benefits Of A Community Playground

When you send your kids outside to play, they’re confined to your yard (if you have one) and the street – which, depending on your neighborhood traffic, isn’t the safest spot to play. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a third option – a fun, safe place, where kids are free to run, play, and be noisy?

The Playground

In addition to giving your kids an outdoor space, a well-maintained playground can directly influence the state of the community.

A neighborhood with a playground will attract young families. More foot traffic opens up business and advertising opportunities. Property values will increase.

Playgrounds serve as a free gathering place for kids of all ages, fostering social and physical development as children interact. Playgrounds offer controlled anarchy; the ability to cut loose, run around, and let imagination take over. 

At Sof’Fall we talk a lot about playground safety and soft playground surfacing. We sometimes forget that a lot of people don’t even have a playground nearby.

There are even playgrounds for teens and adults, with all the same perks. They can become booming social hubs, an attractive feature of the neighborhood. With all of these benefits, remember that the best thing about the playground isn’t the soft playground surfacing or the big fancy slide. It is that kids have somewhere they can be outside and play.

Health Benefits

There are a lot of benefits to kids playing outside. High calorie intakes and sedentary lifestyles mean widespread obesity among people of all ages. We need more physical activity. We need to go outside, and soak up the sun, and get our bodies moving.

A playground gives people a free outdoor destination – the perfect place to get moving and engage in heart-healthy fun.

Playground Safety

Playgrounds are wonderful, no doubt about it. But you also can’t help but wonder: is the playground in my community safe?

No playground is 100% injury-proof. Kids still trip and fall. But, there are things you can look for when you bring your kids to a new playground.

Safe Playground Surfacing

What is the playground floor made of? Is it concrete? Gravel? Wood chips? Rubber?

Safe playground surfacing is the most important part of playground safety, due in large part to the aforementioned tripping and falling. If the playground is simply atop a concrete slab, it’ll be much less safe than a playground with wood chips or recycled rubber floors.

The floor is the foundation of the playground. While kids can choose between swings, climbing, jumping, and crawling activities, all of them inevitably interact with the ground without even thinking about it. Therefore, good surfacing is the backbone of playground safety.

Playground Maintenance

Proper maintenance is another safety priority. Playground equipment has to be able to withstand daily use. A well-maintained playground can prevent accidents and harm.

Additionally, active playground care will discourage vandals and other unsavory juvenile behavior.

At then end of the day it is obvious that community playgrounds have a lot of advantages. They:

  • Encourage kids to socialize and be imaginative.
  • Provide an outlet for physical activity,
  • Which, in turn, fights obesity and promotes healthy living.
  • Become popular neighborhood fixtures for people of all ages.
  • Increase property values and community wellness

We've been catching children when they fall for over 27 Years

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Playground Surface Safety Standards

Playground Surface Safety Standards

Safe playgrounds are a necessity for any child under the age of 12. Having somewhere to run and scream has virtually limitless benefits for not only them, but you. Making sure your child has a safe place to play can be intimidating; hopefully some of the following information will help. Here are some different types of ground cover to consider for your home or otherwise local play area.

Grass seems obvious for playground surfacing, but it bears considering nonetheless. It’s a very low cost option, and also a fairly soft one for them to fall onto. It can, though, be incredibly slippery and there’s ample chance of tracking mud into your car and/or home. As is probably obvious, grass is high maintenance, needing trimmed regularly and sometimes reseeded. Another less work-intensive playground surfacing would be turf or artificial grass. This is a much more expensive option, though as previously stated, it’ll save you time (and possibly money for a landscaper) on maintenance. Artificial grass doesn’t need watered, or cut for many years.

There is simply no substitute for having the right playground materials for our children to play on. Soft playground surfacing can make a huge difference when it comes to accidents. Having soft and safe surfacing can be the difference is a few tears and a serious trip to the emergency room for you child. 

Safe Playground Materials

Moving on, we have sand. This is a more messy option, though it can be cheap and absorb falls very well. Animals typically see sand as an invitations to relieve themselves, and sand can typically get into socks, shoes, and hair. This may put up some warning flags, though it does soften falls if you keep it about an even foot or so deep.

Rubber mulch is usually made out of recycled tires that have been shredded up into small pieces. It does certainly provide a soft surface for children to fall onto, though it can provide a major choking hazard for children still young enough to put everything possible into their mouths. This playground surface option requires vigilance if children of that age group are to be playing on it.

“When playground surfacing is sub-par it requires vigilance and extra efforts by everyone to lower the chance of injury. This job could simply be done by having the right surfacing.”

Poured in Rubber Surfaces are a good option for soft playground surfacing. It’s the least work-heavy, but the most expensive. These are used in safe playgrounds all over, even some on residential properties, and they have the most bounce to meet children when they fall onto the safe, rubber ground. This “Pour in Place” soft playground surfacing option is great for children with disabilities as it is perfect for wheelchair accessibility and for use with other mobility tools. These poured rubber surfaces also come in many colors to match any landscaping that may already be in place.

The Best Option For Playground Surfacing

Engineered Wood Fiber is more expensive than typical wood chips, though it contains no sawdust and is in wide use today around the United States. Engineered Wood Fiber is typically on the pricier end of the cost spectrum, however it provides more cushion for children to topple onto than other mulches or wood chips. It is very important to use virgin wood in an Engineered Wood Fiber ground cover, otherwise there may be contaminants that could harm the children playing on it.

Children have a special but worried place in all our hearts, and knowing what to use to protect them is crucial. Here’s to safe playgrounds everywhere

We've been catching children when they fall for over 27 Years

Get in touch with us to learn why our play area surface products are your best option.
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What Is Engineered Wood Fiber?

What Is Engineered Wood Fiber?

From the time a kid learns to crawl, she has a surface upon which to play. She has no idea her parents make extra sure the surfaces upon which she plays is the cleanest and safest. The same goes when you take your kid to the local park or when they hop on the playground at school. They don’t know (or care) about the materials there, they just want to play.

“Parents should understand exactly what makes up the surface of their child’s favorite playground.”

Playground materials have to be two things: slip resistant and Americans With Disabilities Act or ADA compliant. It’s important for all kids to have soft playground surfacing. Engineered wood fiber meets that need. Here’s what parents should know about engineered wood fiber playground covering.

If you are researching soft playground surfaces then you have probably heard about engineered wood fiber. And rightly so might we add.

What Is Engineered Wood Fiber?

Engineered wood fiber is made from the 100 percent virgin soft wood at the heart of the tree. These soft fibers are cut to one to two inch lengths. They’re soft enough to cushion a child if she falls from playground equipment.

They’re also firm enough to enable wheel-chair bound children to play on the playground surface. Since they’re fibrous, rain passes right through them, enabling children to play on them directly after a rain. The wood fibers are then placed around the play equipment.

How Engineered Wood Fiber Works

A playground is usually covered with a layer of gravel for drainage and to prolong the life of the engineered fibers. A layer of landscaping textile is placed atop this to add to the drainage.

Because they’re fluffy upon delivery, the fibers will need two to six weeks to settle. In this state, the fibers aren’t handicapped accessible. Once it’s compacted, however, the playground will be ADA compliant. Playground owners can have the fibers compacted upon delivery, but it takes a little extra to accomplish. After that, though, the playground will be good to go.

Engineered wood fiber playground covering should be installed to a depth of nine inches for optimal benefit. The life of the wood fibers is estimated to be about eight years or more, providing proper maintenance is observed.

This constitutes raking the scattered wood fibers beneath the playground equipment. Topping it off with a layer of wood fibers is recommended to maintain a soft cushion upon which children can safely play.

Benefits Of Sof’Fall Engineer Wood Fiber

Wood fibers are ideal for playground materials due to not including hard parts like bark and twigs. They’re all natural and not chemically treated. Children can play on them without becoming ill. Other benefits include:

  • Easy on the budget with lower installation costs
  • Attractive appearance
  • Safer for children to play on as opposed to synthetic or other types of soft playground surfacing
  • Supportive of children in wheelchairs, on crutches, or using walkers
  • Fully tested and IPEMA certified with a ten year warranty and ten million dollars liability insurance
  • ADA compliant

Your Best Option

Children are amazing. They launch themselves off any available surface, tumble about, climb anything worthy of adventure, and fall often. Having something soft to fall on is what is most important here.The amazing part is that, nine times out of ten, they don’t break their bones. All that launching, tumbling, and falling is indicative of great imagination and the search for fun.

As parents, we all want to see our children having fun. It makes sense to provide them with a soft carpet upon which to have it. Engineered wood fibers were invented with little ones in mind. Superior protection is  the name of the game

 

 

We've been catching children when they fall for over 27 Years

Get in touch with us to learn why our play area surface products are your best option.
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The Worst Materials For Playground Surfacing

The Worst Materials For Playground Surfacing

Safe playground surfacing is extremely important. Having safe materials for our kids to play on top of is essential to the effectiveness of any playground. Sometimes, good intentioned city planners are trying to make the dollars and cents line up just so there can be a park because they realize how important exercise is for children

“Don’t ask what these kids will be playing on, ask what they will be falling on instead. It makes you think twice about what material to use.”

Even with the best intentions, our children safety is not something we should cut corners on. Safe playground materials are essential to giving parents and children peace of mind knowing that they can play and still be safe. With that said, here are a few playground materials to avoid when it comes to building a new park. These are just a few of the unsafe materials for playground surfacing. 

There are more than one good option when it comes to playground surfacing. At Sof’Fall we strive to be the best option because we believe when it comes to where our kids play and their safety while playing you can settle for nothing but the best.  

Hard Materials

In the 20th century playground surfacing was made out of whatever you wanted to put there. This lead to a lot of dangerous playground materials being used. Hard materials include things like cement, concrete, and asphalt. Oftentimes (but not always) these tend to be a cheaper option but they are certainly less safe.

“Simply put, hard materials do not meet playground safety standards anymore.”

Hard materials provide the worst fall protection for our kids. Children are going to fall down and when they fall on these hard surfaces their chances for serious injury skyrocket. Minimizing these chances is what Sof’Fall is all about.

Dirt or Grass

We almost want to count dirt as a hard surface because of its total lack of fall protection. On top of this, dirt will eventually wear down and uneven surfacing will present itself. An uneven surface opens the door for twisted ankles, tripping, and all kinds of injuries. It is not an ideal playground surface. 

Loose Gravel

Loose gravel is a bad idea for a number of reasons. While it has a tiny bit better fall protection than other hard materials they are still rocks. They can be scattered and abused by unruly children and can be used to cause harm. Not only this, but loose gravel will not allow you to be and ADA compliant playground.

Safe Playground Surface Materials

Lest you think we are extreme critics and pessimists we want to leave you with a safe playground material. Engineered wood fibers are non-toxic, hydro-friendly, and have the highest fall protection on the market. If you are building a playground, look into getting Sof’Fall engineered wood fibers for the sake of your children.

 

We've been catching children when they fall for over 27 Years

Get in touch with us to learn why our play area surface products are your best option.
Get your free quote today.

CONTACT US!

Call, email or send us a message from our online form. We're happy to answer your questions or send you an estimate.

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