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Do you really need a playground safety surface?

Posted by Jamie Kavanagh on

In an increasingly risk-averse world, do children really need more protection from scrapes and falls? Can they not cope with a bump here and there without a visit to the emergency room? Is rubber mulch as a safety surface really going to make a difference?

The short answer to all those questions is yes. The longer answer is, well, longer.

As a society, we are certainly becoming more risk-averse to a detrimental degree. Sure, we all want our kids to be safe but we are taking it too far. In my own childhood, I climbed trees and promptly fell out. I ran, tripped, scraped, cut, bruised and generally battered my body in pursuit of fun. However, I'm still here, still healthy and am still functioning a hundred percent.

We risk rearing a generation of soft children who cannot handle risk, who cannot pick themselves up and brush themselves off after a fall and who expect a visit to the ER every time they cut themselves. That's not a good way to go.

Yet, that said, it is our duty as parents to make our environment as safe as possible for our children. Providing safe places to play is just one aspect of that.

Rubber mulch and playground safety

Rubber mulch has long been touted as a safe surface for play but does have science and official research to back it up. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), EPA and other organizations all support rubber mulch as a safe playing surface. More so than many others.

For example, CPSC says rubber mulch, bonded rubber flooring and sand are all safe playing surfaces. It also says dirt and grass are not. This is down to impact resistance. Dirt and grass have little or no give, so when a child falls, the energy isn't absorbed by the ground but reflected back into their body.

Rubber mulch absorbs that energy, dissipating it across the covering and taking it away from the body. That's how it can protect your children, by taking that kinetic energy and dispersing it in a safe way. Away from your child.

If you have a swing or climbing frame, laying a mere 3 inches of rubber mulch can protect them from falls of up to six feet. Increase that depth to 5 inches and you increase impact protection from falls of up to ten feet. That's a significant safety barrier right there.

So while we don't agree with the direction our society is moving in, we do appreciate that we have a duty to protect our children. If Dallas Rubber Mulch can contribute to that in even a small way, we're happy!

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