Choosing a safe, shock-absorbent surfacing material is one of the most important considerations when designing playgrounds and play spaces. Of the various options like sand, pea gravel, and engineered wood fibre, soft fall rubber is emerging as an optimal solution.
With the right installation, soft fall rubber surfacing provides impact cushioning to minimise injuries from falls and accidents during play. It also offers benefits like durability, wheelchair accessibility, and creative design options.
This blog post will examine why more schools, childcare facilities, and parks are turning to soft fall rubber as the ideal surfacing for playgrounds and play areas. From safety to cost-effectiveness and low maintenance, the advantages of soft fall rubber are hard to beat.
Why Soft Fall Rubber is Ideal for Playgrounds
Soft fall rubber surfacing is optimal for modern playgrounds due to its excellent impact-absorbing properties. Rubber mats and poured-in-place rubber provide unparalleled cushioning that helps minimise injuries when children fall off equipment or during active play.
Studies show rubber surfacing rated at 2.4-3 meters critical fall height dramatically reduces the likelihood of head injuries compared to harder surfaces. Soft fall rubber is also more forgiving on children’s developing joints and bones than materials like concrete or timber.
The forgiving nature gives kids confidence to run, jump, and climb without fear. Astroturf-like products provide vibrant colours for engagement.
With proper installation, rubber soft fall delivers safety for the most active playgrounds. Its slip-resistance also makes it wheelchair friendly. When safety is the priority, playground operators and parents agree that soft fall rubber hits all the right notes.
Soft fall rubber surfacing provides some major advantages that make it ideal for play areas. Let’s explore the top benefits that set soft fall rubber apart.
Cushions Impacts and Absorbs Falls
The primary purpose of soft fall surfacing is to cushion impacts and absorb energy when children fall. Premium rubber soft fall is engineered with the right density and shock-absorption to reduce forces in the event of falls effectively. The rubber’s flex and give upon impact prevent more serious injuries.
Slip Resistant and Wheelchair Accessible
Quality soft fall rubber provides a good grip and traction underfoot, even when wet. This slip resistance allows for active play while preventing skids and falls. Rubber surfacing also maintains a firm, steady surface accessible for wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers, unlike loose-fill options.
Long Lasting Durability
Soft fall rubber is highly durable and maintains its shock-absorbing properties over decades. High-grade rubber withstands UV rays with minimal cracking or hardening. It stands up to heavy foot traffic and aggressive play for maximum value over time.
Once installed, rubber soft fall requires little ongoing maintenance versus other surfacing. It does not need raking or frequent topping off like wood chips or sand. The rubber does not attract weeds or insects. Just occasional inspection and pressure washing keep it looking fresh.
Creative Design Options
Soft fall rubber comes in a rainbow of colours to brighten any playground. Poured surfaces can be designed in fun patterns. Interlocking tiles also allow the creation of custom designs. This creative flexibility bolsters kids’ engagement and imagination.
While soft fall rubber offers clear safety benefits, proper installation and maintenance are still essential. The surfacing must meet minimum depth requirements based on the highest play equipment height – often around 30cm for sufficient cushioning.
Seams between mats or poured sections should lay flat and tight to avoid trip hazards. Regular inspections check for signs of deterioration or gaps.
Soft fall rubber does require borders and drainage for optimal effectiveness and to avoid shifting. Ensuring certified installers handle the specialty surfacing is advised.
Soft fall rubber requires supervision and reasonable safety rules to prevent injuries like any play area. With proper precautions during installation and over time, soft fall rubber reliably minimises injuries for years of carefree play. Following safety guidelines as part of an overall maintenance program keeps the surfacing protecting children as intended.
When to Choose Other Surfacings
While soft fall rubber has many advantages, alternative surfaces like engineered wood fibre (EWF) and poured-in-place (PIP) rubber may be preferable in certain situations. EWF may better suit play areas with a more natural aesthetic or tighter budgets.
PIP rubber offers a seamless installation that maximises accessibility, making it ideal for indoor play spaces. Synthetic turf can also mimic grass for sports fields. Loose-fill options work for simple, low-use play spaces that won’t displace the material.
Hardscapes like rubber tiles suit playground edges and paths between equipment. In small play nooks or infant areas with limited equipment heights, affordability may trump the installation investment for soft fall rubber.
However, for most busy playgrounds and playground equipment over 5 feet tall, soft fall rubber is the premier choice for safety, accessibility and ease of maintenance. When selecting the right surfacing, facility operators should consider all factors, from budget to usage levels and aesthetic goals.
The Ideal Balance of Safety, Function and Value
When prioritising child safety and accessibility, soft fall rubber clearly emerges as an optimal surfacing solution. With proper installation and maintenance, soft fall rubber reliably minimises injuries from falls and accidents for years.
It offers cushioning, traction, and creative design options not found in loose-fill surfacing. The long-term durability and minimal upkeep requirements make the initial investment worthwhile for schools, parks, and childcare facilities.
Trust the surfacing experts at Aaron’s Outdoor for new playground projects or renovations. Their experienced team can advise the best soft fall rubber product and installation for your specific play area needs and budget.
With the right safety surfacing, kids can play confidently while parents and caregivers enjoy peace of mind. Contact Aaron’s Outdoor today to discuss how soft fall rubber can create a fun, stimulating, and safe play space at your property.