Whether for swinging, climbing or zooming down a slide, children love spending time on the playground. Their enjoyment, though, relies heavily on the playground’s condition, as damaged, poor surfacing can often lead to trips, slips and painful falls…
In fact, statistics from RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) show there are an estimated 40,000 injuries to children on playgrounds each year which result in a hospital visit. This figure has been attributed to several factors, including poor inspection and maintenance, poor design and layout and failure to comply with recommended standards.
One of the best ways to avoid playground accidents, they suggest, is to lay smooth, even and highly durable surfaces, and it is essential that the material is shock-absorbing and regularly inspected.
There is no definitive or specific law requiring protective surfacing to be provided on children’s playgrounds. However, it is thoroughly recommended by numerous safety organisations, such as RoSPA, BSI (British Standards Institute) and CAPT (Child Accident Prevention Trust).
Similarly, the Department of the Environment ‘strongly recommended’ its use in 1978, while the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, who are currently the Government’s leading body on playgrounds, also advised its use in their Playground Safety Guidelines (1993), saying it is a necessary design element of a safe playground. Additionally, the Health and Safety Executive has also advised its use, signifying just how important high quality, protective playground surfacing is.
Even though there is no explicit law regulating playground surfacing, those in charge of playgrounds can be sued for negligence if they fail to take reasonable care to ensure their playgrounds are safe and, as a result, encounter an accident which could have been avoided and that they could have reasonably foreseen. The RoSPA suggest a good example of this “would be an accident which occurred from failing to maintain the protective surface which had been provided under equipment.”
So, in order to protect our children as they are playing, it is vital that playgrounds feature high quality surfacing which is well maintained throughout the year.
There are many options when it comes to choosing the surface for your playground, from loose materials and sand to grass, tarmac and rubber mats. As a general principle, there are three main kinds of protective surfacing for play areas:
A good, multi-purpose surface, but with little wear resistance or impact absorbency in dry conditions. It also requires lots of maintenance.
These include sand, wood products and pea shingle. One of their best features is their shock absorbency. However, over time they disperse and break down and, furthermore, they are not suitable for moving equipment.
There are three main types:
All of these synthetic surfaces offer superior standard, highly efficient, long-lasting protection. However, they do require professional laying, as otherwise the process can be difficult and ineffective, and it is also important that they are regularly inspected and maintained for optimum safety levels.
So if you are undertaking a playground renovation and are trying to make it as safe and secure as possible for the children who use it, it is highly recommended to call upon a professional and reliable surfacing company – such as the experts down at UK Surfacings.
Whether you are a commercial, residential or local authority playground, our comprehensive service includes a host of surfacing solutions, including rubber tarmac and resin bonded surfacing, and they guarantee to offer the safest, most effective results at consistently affordable prices.
So for more information on playground resurfacing, or any type of surfacing project, get in touch with the friendly and highly experienced team at UK Surfacings today and we can offer you a free consultation and quote at your convenience!