It’s hard to believe that not so many years ago, children’s play equipment mostly consisted of perma-pine logs or stainless steel beams. Even harder to believe is the fact that this older play equipment was installed in areas where the safety of kids was not exactly top of mind. At best, sand was relied upon to soften the blow if kids fell off the equipment and at worst, just plain old concrete. Fortunately, the safety of children is a much bigger priority these days!
The Development of Rubber Softfall
While many playgrounds still use plenty of bark chips to increase safety, rubber softfall material is becoming a lot more popular. This softfall rubber is rather different from using regular rubber and provides the following benefits:
- Soft: The biggest priority for any playground surface is that it should be firm, durable, and yet soft enough to cushion the fall of a young child from play equipment so as to minimise injury. Rubber softfall playgrounds are composed of a material that is strong and durable but has enough give in it to absorb much of the impact from a fall.
- Visual: Sand and bark chips may have been a lot more effective than concrete or grass but they were not exactly attractive. One of the benefits of using this special rubber material is that it comes in a wide range of colours. Just imagine a children’s playground that features a colourful checkerboard pattern as its ground. Or a huge game of chess or Snakes and Ladders? The great thing about this is that it appeals visually to children and really aligns with how fun a playground should be. This is a world away from dull bark chips!
- No Puddles: One might think that using a rubber material would result in plenty of puddles and slippery surfaces after a heavy rainfall. The benefit of this new softfall material is that it is actually porous. This means that rain will simply drain right through it and into the lower soil and sand layers. This also means no puddles and no slippery surfaces! Furthermore, this material also features a rough-grip surface to minimise the risk of slips and falls even further.
- Durable: Being exposed to the weather each and every day means that most surfaces will erode over time and even break down. This is why sand and bark chips had to be replaced regularly on playgrounds. Rubber softfall surfaces are strong, are durable, and will resist breaking down. This not only cuts down on maintenance costs but also means that children can continue to play safely in the long.
Looking After the Kids
No one wants to see children falling and hurting themselves on play equipment. Rubber softfall surfaces provide a great mix of strength, durability, visual excitement, and safety.