Protective surfacing in the playgrounds at an initial point can be considered a decorative element or one that simply facilitates access and movement in the facilities, but its use has other additional benefits even more important; additionally, the selection of the type of material is as relevant as the selection of the playground equipment itself since it involves a series of factors that must be considered for its installation. In the following, we will discuss the importance of protective surfacing in playgrounds.
The main function of protective surfacing is to prevent injuries due to accidents and to minimize the severity of any incident that may occur, whether due to children falling or slipping while playing. It also facilitates mobility throughout the playground facilities, leveling the ground and helping the transition between the different areas. This is vital, especially for people with limited mobility, as it makes it easier to move wheelchairs, walkers, and even baby carriages. Another function is that, due to its versatility and variety of colors and designs, patterns can be created on the floor that can be used to create play spaces, marking, special walkways, signage, and much more.
Protective surfacing must cushion impacts and must be soft enough for this, but at the same time, be strong enough to ensure stability and grip. They must have anti-slip properties to prevent falls, even in wet conditions, but be soft enough not to hurt the child’s skin, not to splinter or have exaggerated roughness. Another aspect to consider is the height of the playground equipment, as the risk of children falling will depend on this, and the appropriate thickness of the protective surfacing should be calculated based on this.
Selecting the material
Rubber is a material that satisfactorily meets the requirements to be an optimal material for protective surfacing. Whether it is PIP (Pour in Place) or Rubber Tiles, they are two extremely versatile options that fully meet the function of protection, safety, aesthetics, and feasibility, being a highly recommended material for playground use. Among the advantages of PIP is that it offers a uniform and unitary surface with excellent water permeability and great durability. Concerning rubber tiles it is a product with great adaptability, which contributes to minimizing the negative environmental impact by being manufactured mostly with recycled materials, easy to install, and with a variety of sizes, thicknesses, and colors.
Many may think that protective surfacing is simply for decoration, but as reflected in this article, there are many functions that they fulfill and go beyond simple aesthetics since safeguarding the safety of children is their main function. Children, because of their young age, have no notion of the risks to which they may be exposed even in areas specially designed for them because when running, jumping, or climbing equipment, if they are not careful, they can get hurt, therefore, it is our responsibility to use the appropriate safety and protection elements in any playground to ensure the integrity of children.
What do you think about this topic? What do you think about the importance of protective surfacing?