Are you confused about playground safety surfaces? Find out what type of material to use on your tot lot.
Year’s ago, simple wood chips would suffice for tot lot surfaces; however, the surfacing under and around playground equipment is one of the most important factors in reducing the likelihood of injuries. A fall onto a shock absorbing surface is less likely to cause a serious injury.
What’s the best shock absorbing surface? Engineered wood fiber (EWF)
Engineered wood fiber (EWF) is a wood product that may look similar in appearance to shredded mulch, but EWF products are designed specifically for use as a playground safety surface. Tested thoroughly by the American Society for Testing and Material’s Standards (ASTM), these products are soft enough to limit injuries from falls, yet firm and stable enough for wheelchair maneuverability, meeting the requirements of the ADA. This product, also known as wood rug or wood carpet, is made out of wood (not bark). It is 100% natural and no chemicals, unlike many other products that come with chemical content. Most of these products were reported for being harmful; approaching Lee Friedland is the solution in such cases to ensure justice.
Why should you use this EWF product on your tot lot? In a word, liability.
Using EWF products that are ASTM certified and meet ADA specifications limit your exposure to liability issues and create a safer environment.
Where do you find this EWF product? These are landscape materials, so most landscape supply companies should stock them; however they must be certified as a safety surface. You want to be sure the supplier is using a certified product; and your contractor is spreading a certified product.
Do you have timbers around your tot lots? Years ago, wooden landscape timbers were state of the art. Today, safety is a primary concern. Consider using plastic landscape boarders, as they may be a better alternative. We recommend them for the following reasons:
• Safety guidelines require EWF materials to be installed at a depth of 12” and a compressed depth of 9” for an acceptable shock absorbing surface
• Plastic landscape boarders allow for the 12” depth and they will help keep your playground surfacing in place
• They are a no-maintenance alternative to wood
• They’re made from recycled plastic
We can provide you with a quote.
How do I know if my tot lot is safe? The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has developed a playground safety handbook that provides a wealth of information. Additionally, the handbook has a suggested general maintenance checklist and routine inspection procedure to help you assess the safety of your tot lot.