Curbing – An essential element in the playground environment
There are many ways that a playground can be made safer for children. Proper equipment installation, maintenance, and supervision are certainly important, but adding the proper surfacing to the playground is one of the most important ways to minimize injury. According to the CPSC, surfaces around playground equipment must have at least 9” of engineered wood chips (mulch) or 6" of shredded rubber present. Each material has its advantages and drawbacks, but their presence is crucial in the highly active atmosphere of the modern playground.
The addition of rubber mats is also a smart addition to help minimize injury at high impact areas like the base of slides, or to help keep loose surfacing in place, such as under swings. Surfacing should extend at least 6’ in all directions from the equipment, and at least twice the distance of the height of the suspending bar of a swing unit, both in front of and behind the unit.
Another important addition to the playground is curbing around the area housing the structures. Curbing offers many advantages, it helps keep the loose surfacing materials from migrating outside the play area, saving on replacement and maintenance costs. It also adds an attractive edging to the playground and offers a boundary marking a playground as a special area designated for kids. Edging discourages the pass through of wheeled vehicles, such as bikes and skates, offering more protection for the children in the area.
GameTime is one playground manufacturer affording innovative design concepts in edging. PlayCurbs offer smooth access to the playground and gives the consumer a choice of environmentally-conscious recycled black material, in addition to 10 kid-friendly colors to coordinate with the equipment. The units are available as 4’straight elements and in an 8" or 12" height to offer the consumer custom options for endless design configurations. PlayCurbs require minimum site preparation, making them an easy addition to a playground system. They lock together, and into the ground, with 30” long galvanized steel stakes to hold the units firmly in place.
Curbing options must also take accessibility into consideration, as outlined by the ADA. The GameTime system incorporates Accessible PlayCurbs with an innovative design that affords smooth access without releasing the surfacing. GameTime takes pride in its attention to the needs and expectations of children, while giving equal attention to their protection and safety. “Our philosophy is enriching the lives of children through play,” states GameTime’s Vice President, Tom Norquist. “This includes taking their safety into account, and making sure the play experience is enriching, fun and an all around positive experience.”
Whether you are updating an existing playground or planning a new site, don’t forget to add appropriate surfacing and curbing to make your playground complete, not to mention a great environment for the true consumer, kids.