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Why Rubber Mulch Is a Must in Today's Playground

90s playground meme

 

This meme has been making the rounds of social media lately, and as initially funny as it is, there’s also a very scary layer to it. Grass or dirt surfacing, apart from the obviously exaggerated height of the playground equipment, can seriously injure any child at play. The un-funny thing about it all is, for the longest time, this was accepted as the norm.


Today, we’ve come a long way from potentially-maiming playground conditions to actually recognizing and meeting safety standards. Kids can still be kids without having their freedom to play cut short or taken away altogether. Parents and guardians everywhere can rest assured that the playgrounds won’t harm their little ones.


The introduction of rubber mulch as ground cover for play areas has a lot to do with it. Below are just some of its proven benefits.


Unmatched shock absorption


Shock absorption is measured by testing surface materials against falling objects, and how the impact affects them. Compared to other typical surface cover materials, rubber mulch has been consistently tried and proven to absorb more shock impact. Emergency rooms receive around 200,000 playground-related injuries each year, so having six inches of IPEMA-certified rubber mulch cover on a commercial playground is already a great advance safety measure for your kids (up to 16 feet of critical fall height protection!).


Minimal maintenance


Compared to wood mulch, rubber mulch will only require up to 50% less material for sufficient ground coverage. That means less expense, but more protection from injuries. It doesn’t need to be replaced yearly so that also means more savings. There’s also no need to treat the surfacing with chemicals to keep pests away, because rubber mulch doesn’t attract weeds, insects or rodents, unlike organic mulches.  


Exceptional longevity


Ever since our great-grandparents were kids, playgrounds were typically covered in grass, sand, gravel, or wood chips. These materials were easy to come by, but unfortunately did not stay put for too long. Wind, rain, snow, and heat had adverse effects on them, and they had to be regularly replaced to cover the ground over and over again.   


Rubber mulch, on the other hand, can be counted on to stand up to even the most extreme weather conditions. The pieces won’t budge in heavy winds, get swept away by rain, or melt during summer days. The colors stay vibrant and attractive for years, too!




Alan Weiman
Alan Weiman

Author