The key to playground safety is shock absorbent playground surfacing. The number one injury on the playground is head injury from falling off of equipment onto the ground. Studies have found that the installation of shock absorbent playground surfacing greatly reduces both fall impact and injury.

To ensure playground safety, ASTM standards have been put in place surrounding the installation of playground flooring. This includes guidelines as to which types of materials are appropriate as well as minimum depth to achieve sufficient impact absorbency. ASTM standards require playground flooring to pass stringent testing. Impact attenuation is determined by dropping an instrumented object onto a surface and noting the:

  • Force of impact
  • Time of Acceleration

ASTM International Standard F1292-13 defines the fall height as “the vertical distance between a designated play surface and the playground surface beneath it.” The fall height of playground equipment is key when determining the minimum depth requirement of the surfacing. Loose fill surfacing shifts as children play, particularly in high traffic areas, requiring ongoing maintenance to ensure minimum depth requirements are maintained over time.

Critical height is another crucial measurement when it comes to playground surfacing. ASTM International Standard F1292-13 defines the critical height of a surface material as “the fall height below which a life threatening head injury would not be expected to occur”.

To comply with critical height standards, manufacturers and installers must provide critical height ratings of any surfacing products to consumers. In addition, playground owners and operators are responsible for having surfacing in place that meets requirements.

Safety matters. Shock absorbing protective surfacing around and under the playground has been shown to greatly reduce the likelihood of head injuries to children. Pro Playgrounds offers every type of playground flooring available, including poured in place rubber playground surfacing, rubber mulch, poured in place rubber mulch, engineered wood fiber playground mulch (EWF) and others. All of our playground surfacing installations are completed by licensed playground safety inspectors, who will confirm that your new playground surfacing is compliant with playground safety regulations including ASTM standards.