In this guide, I am going to explain how you can make the playground flooring safe and keep the
playtime fun for the kids. Moreover, I will share some surface safety tips and other safety ratings
in this article to keep the floor safe for the coming years.
Summer is coming and birds are chirping, the weather is getting hot. The kids across the country
are thinking that it is the right time to go and play outside. It is the time of year when every
family thinks of going out to play and to end their winter hermit. Moreover, it is the best time to
think of making your playground in the house or to make some important upgrades.
Making a playground safe for kids is not a very daunting task. There are lots of option but two
things are important: the first one is the fun and the second one is the safety of your kids. The
first step is to have a fall height safety rated and durable flooring. The second thing is well-
maintained equipment and you are good to go. Before going any further, let’s take a look at safety. It is better to call a certified outdoor flooring expert like Decking Board. They have the
experience of installing outdoor flooring and can help you with that.
Before doing anything with playground flooring, you need to keep in mind that the flooring must
be shock absorbent. It also means that you should not make floors with dirt, gravel, concrete, and
asphalt. Think of natural grass as it is soft and a good place for jumping and landing. It does not
mean to grow grass; it means to install a specially designed flooring surface. Most people will
recommend youroutdoor rubber which is a great choice.
Fall height Ratings
When it comes to outdoor flooring, the important thing to keep in mind is fall height. If the
playground flooring fall height rating is 5. It means the kid can fall from 5 without any serious
injury. The materials like concrete do not have the shock absorbency. Moreover, a person will
not want his child to fall on concrete. Specially designed playground flooring will keep your kids
safe from a certain height.
The first thing is to determine the fall height and shock absorbency ratings. If the fall height
rating is higher, then you can use higher equipment for the playground. When it comes to the
children, the first concern is their safety. So, you have to make sure that the flooring meets the
safety standards. Because every flooring has its safety criteria and standards.
How You Can Test the Fall Height?
Well, you can measure it by the shock absorbency ratings of the flooring. All of the
manufacturers first test the flooring by using a dummy by falling it from different heights. These
tests help them determine the height that falls safe for the child without any serious injury. These
ratings then help the flooring contractor to install the right flooring according to the playground
equipment heights to create a safe environment.
Most of the manufacturers test their tiles by falling a ball in the center. But this test was not
effective in testing the quality of the product. Now they drop a ball at the edge of the tile to test
- Because the edge of the tile is the weakest point. Another reason was the inner part shows a
higher rating because it is the strongest part. But when they drop it on the edge, the results are
quite different. It is recommended to perform six of these tests to determine the lowest fall height
Recommendations for Fall Height
While buying flooring for the playground, a product doesn’t have to have a low fall height rating.
Those low ratings do not mean the product is bad. The important thing is to see that the product
is fall height certified or not. If the flooring is for a commercial playground, then 6’ fall height
rating is the standard. But if you are installing it in your backyard then you can use tiles with
lower ratings like 2’ or 3’.
Most of the playgrounds now have very high equipment and it is difficult to find products
with such high ratings. Tiles with higher ratings are costlier because you need an extra layer
of foam which is a challenge for the product.
Mulch for Playground
One of the easiest ways is the mulch for the playground. However, it requires a lot of
maintenance than flooring. The reason is that it can be displaced by plat and in rain. You need to
maintain it to keep the flooring safe for kids. Rubber mulch has some benefits such it does not
attract, bugs, moisture or pull cats from the neighborhood.
Depending on the thickness, the fall height ratings are different from tiles. I am going to share
the standard ratings as it can vary from product to product.
2’’- Only Landscaping
3’’- Fall height rating of 6’. recommended for residential playground
6’’ – 17’ fall height, work best for commercial playground
I know I did not recommend grass for the playground but I am talking about artificial grass to
meet the safety guidelines. In the case of artificial grass, it is easy to manipulate the thickness to
meet the safety requirements. The feel and look of this grass are just the same as the original. A
normal person cannot tell whether it is original or artificial.
Fall Heights of Turf
Depending on the underlayment and thickness of the fall height, safety ratings can vary. You can
measure the thickness by adding the thickness of the lawn pad. We will only share the standard
ratings as it can vary with the product. So, check the specs of the product before making any
2.1- 3.1’’ —- 5’ fall height rating, best for a residential playground
3.3 – 4.3’’ —-7’ rating which is great for a commercial playground.