There has been a lot of talk about the environmental credibility of rubber mulch as a material and its safety as ground cover. This is especially true when it comes to using it anywhere where children play.
So far, the science has failed to build a compelling case against rubber mulch and with good reason. All those theoretical fears about heavy metals, smells, color loss and swallowing have all been found to be largely unfounded. When you use a good quality rubber mulch, those issues just don’t arise.
The science around playground safety is behind the times, just like some people’s views of new products. Here are some facts we collected.
- Playground injuries are the fourth most common reason for an ER visit
- Playground injuries account for a third of traumatic brain injuries in children
- There are more than 225,000 playground injuries each year that require a visit to the ER
- The current acceptable impact level for playground surface is 200G
- A punch from a championship boxer produces a force of around 75G
- A car collision at 25mph generates around 125G
- NFL players who experience impacts of between 70 and 150G regularly suffer from concussion
- Yet our kids are deemed to be able to cope with falls of 200G?
So as well as being out of date, the current level of 200G for a safe playing surface should be taken with a large grain of salt.
So why rubber mulch?
Why is rubber mulch regarded as the best playground playing surface? The clue is in the name, rubber. We know that rubber is soft, absorbs impact and offers a softer landing than most other surfaces. Many playgrounds use concrete, tarmacadam or sand as surfaces and rubber mulch is softer than all of those.
Even those play areas lucky enough to have good quality grass underfoot will still have a harder landing than those using rubber mulch.
In our opinion, anything that makes play safer, that can cushion falls and can reduce those visits to the ER is a good thing. Anything that allows our children to run, play, explore and just be kids gets our vote. That’s why we work so hard to produce the cleanest, safest rubber mulch we can. So our children can play safely wherever they are.
So while naysayers may still assert that rubber mulch isn’t to be trusted, until they come up with some kind of evidence to prove it, we’re still going to sell it. More importantly, we’re still going to let our kids play on it.