Likely one of the most overlooked areas of playground maintenance and inspections is the play surface itself, but the condition of the playground surface can impact playground injuries and safety. It is very important to keep the play surfaces in good condition and, depending on the materials, at the right depth.
Inspecting & Maintaining Mulch as a Playground Surface
Engineered wood fiber (EWF) is a great surface covering for playground areas. In terms of costs it is relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain over long terms.
When checking your engineered wood fiber surfaces, you must be sure to maintain a proper depth throughout the play area to reduce injuries from impacts like falls and children jumping off of equipment like swing sets.
Loose fill offers several options like wood or rubber, which can impact cost and durability over time.
Inspecting & Maintaining Poured-in-Place Rubber Surfaces
One of the most visually appealing surfaces available for playgrounds is poured-in-place (PIP) rubber. Allowing for creative designs and high durability, it is a great, but expensive choice.
These surfaces are highly durable, but over time pitting and friction can cause holes and trip hazards. These should be filled in and maintained by the installer or another qualified professional.
Inspecting & Maintaining Bonded Rubber Surfaces
An alternative to the PIP rubber surface is a bonded rubber surface for playgrounds. These surfaces are also incredibly durable but do need to be inspected on a regular basis.
While bonded rubber surfaces are very durable over time they can pit, crack, or sections of the material can go missing. As with any playground surface, it is important to address issues as soon as possible.
CPSI (Certified Playground Safety Inspectors) will test installed playground surfaces for how well they handle impacts. Impact testing helps to keep children safe from injuries that can be sustained from falls or jumping off of playground equipment.
What is the Next Step for Playground Surface Inspections?
Do you know the condition of your playground surface? If not, your next step should be to contact a trained inspector to not only perform impact testing, but also to verify the condition and depth of your playground surfaces depending on the materials used.
Playground Guardian offers playground inspection services which are performed by CPSI certified inspectors. Those inspections are also performed and tracked using our Park Protector playground inspection software to keep audit, inspection, maintenance, and other notes for record keeping purposes. If you are considering doing your own playground inspections the CPSI certified instructors at Playground Guardian can train your team.
Here are some helpful links to look at when thinking about your next steps:
- Playground Surface Testing
- Playground Inspection Services
- Park Protector (playground inspection software)
- Playground Cleaning & Playground Sanitization Services
Also, if you have any questions feel free to reach out to the team at Playground Guardian for a consultation!