Choosing to Install the Right Playground Surfacing Helps Prevent InjuriesChoosing to Install the Right Playground Surfacing Helps Prevent Injuries
Shade Structures May 12, 2021

Choosing to Install the Right Playground Surfacing Helps Prevent Injuries

Injuries Sometimes Happen on Playgrounds … But You Can Help Prevent Them

Did you know that a child in the US gets injured in a playground-related activity every 150 seconds? Over 200,000 children are treated in hospitals for playground injuries each year. And most of these injuries come as a result of the child taking an accidental fall or tumble.

Where active, playing children are concerned, there’s really no way to prevent all falls from occurring. Kids are still growing into their bodies, and they’re not always 100% in control of themselves when it comes to things like balance and coordination. Even so, many fall-related injuries are in fact preventable. It starts by choosing to install the right commercial playground equipment to begin with, and by making sure proper adult supervision is present whenever children are using the provided play space.

But beyond this, it’s also essential to make sure the right playground surfacing is in place. Installing the right playground surface material is really one of the best things you can do to help make a child’s playground experience not only fun, but much safer too!

General Tips & Operating Procedures for Making Playgrounds Safer for Kids

Before we look closer at playground safety surfaces, let’s go over a few smart tips and strategies for making playground environments as safe for children as possible. There are actually quite a few things you can do to help foster an outdoor playground environment that’s both safe and fun for youngsters:

• One of the first things you should do is partner with the right provider in helping you to design and furnish an ideal playground for your school, daycare, church, park, HOA, municipality, or other organization. The fine folks at Carolina Recreation & Design offer many great commercial playground equipment options, and they can take care of all needed installation and site preparation services, too.

• Parental or adult supervision is key to helping provide for children’s safety while out on the playground. Never leave a group of children out on the playground unattended; it simply isn’t worth the risk.

• Always keep an eye out for loose or broken equipment. If you happen to discover any, promptly remove it if possible. Otherwise, rope the play feature off and clearly mark it as being off-limits. Children should not be allowed to use (or even go near) any damaged equipment until proper repairs can be completed.

• Do a quick sweep to remove any debris or trash in or around the playground area before bringing out the kids. Some trash can contain harmful objects, and any trash or debris on the ground can pose a slip hazard.

• Play equipment that’s exposed to full sun can be potentially hazardous for children. If it’s a sunny day, you should go out beforehand and check any exposed playground equipment yourself to verify that it’s not too hot to the touch. If it is, direct children to steer clear of those play elements.

• Speaking of sun exposure, UV rays can cause sunburn for children, and can also result in damage to your playground equipment over time. If your play area isn’t blessed with enough natural shade, a good proactive measure is to have some fabric sun shades installed overhead. In addition to providing quality recreational equipment, Carolina Recreation & Design furnishes quality playground shade solutions too.

• Outdoor playgrounds and bare feet don’t work well together. A good procedure to have in place is the requirement that children wear closed-toe shoes when using the playground. This is a good proactive measure for helping to prevent falls and other injuries.

• Ensure that children are only using equipment that is specifically designed for their age and/or range of abilities.

• If you’re using wood mulch safety surfacing or another type of loose-fill surface, check periodically to make sure it reaches a proper depth. It’s a good idea to have a surfacing depth marker clearly delineated on each play element or physical feature.

• If your playground features a molded rubber playground surface, check periodically for any material tears or missing rubber pieces.

Some Good Playground Surfacing Options to Consider

Falling from equipment and play elements is the most frequent kind of injury that happens on playgrounds in the US. To prevent or minimize such injuries, making plans to include proper safety surfacing is a must for your playground. The right protective surfacing can make all the difference in keeping children safe around climbing structures, swings, seesaws, and other similar types of equipment.

Whether you’re planning for a new playground installation, or whether you already have a playground in place, safety surfacing isn’t just a good idea. In most areas, it’s actually a legal requirement. Here is a sampling of popular safety surfacing options we provide and install at Carolina Recreation & Design:

• Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF)

Many playground owners and managers assume they can just put down a load of mulch and call it good. But the fact of the matter is that natural wood mulch has lots of drawbacks as a safety surface. A loose-fill surface comprised of engineered, non-toxic, crushed wood fiber is a much better option. EWF is more effective than raw mulch, and it still provides a “natural” look for your playground.

• Synthetic Turf

You’ve seen it on football and soccer fields, but those aren’t the only applications for synthetic turf. Turf is a durable surface that can be used to add safety value for playgrounds, too. Plus, it offers the look and feel of grass, while never needing any mowing!

• Recycled Poured Rubber (PIP)

Pour-in-place (PIP) rubber is attractive, seamless, & resilient. It delivers great impact attenuation while also meeting ADA accessibility standards. The look of your playground surface is completely customizable, too. You can choose your own colors or designs, can add school or other logos, and can even build in some outdoor game templates (like hopscotch or four square).

• Rubber Tile

Rubber tile is a compact surface which offers great shock absorption, easy accessibility, and essentially no need for maintenance. The tiles can be placed in attractive patterns and designs, and can also be designed to include game outlines for leap frog, hopscotch, four square, and more.

• Recycled Bonded Rubber

Recycled bonded rubber is a unitary safety surface consisting of shredded recycled tires, a polyurethane binder, and custom pigmentation. It feels springy to the touch, and is designed to be a long-lasting solution.

• Recycled Shredded Rubber

If you really prefer to go with a loose-fill safety surface, wood mulch or engineered wood products aren’t your only option. A recycled shredded rubber surface is made entirely from recycled rubber tires that have been cleaned and ground into small pieces. Loose-fill rubber is more shock-absorbent than wood fiber, lasts much longer, and is also available in a number of custom color options.

Carolina Recreation & Design Can Take Care of All Your Playground – AND Playground Surfacing – Needs!

Carolina Recreation & Design doesn’t just offer the best commercial playground equipment and safety surfacing options. We really provide complete outdoor playground solutions, including site design, site preparation, shade screens, seating areas, picnic shelters – whatever you need!


If you’re a school, preschool, daycare, church or faith center, hospital, park, community center, YMCA, or HOA within our Southeastern U.S. service area, we can take care of you! Got questions? Ready to get started? You can complete this simple form, or you can just give us a call at (704) 664-1833! Carolina Recreation & Design has all your playground, outdoor recreation & leisure, and safety surfacing needs covered!