Artificial Turf Can Improve Playground Safety

Improve Playground Safety with Artificial Turf

Playground safety requires and necessitates more than just maintenance of the equipment. It also requires that adults and experts maintain the grounds — and, of course, it is crucial to provide a safe environment where children can run and play without worrying about tripping, slipping or being injured in falls. Artificial turf is one of the best materials for playground resurfacing because of its uniformity and ability to resist everyday wear, tear, and use.

Forget Paths or Ruts

One of the biggest problems in maintaining a playground is preventing ruts and holes under swings, slides and other pieces of playground equipment. As children enjoy and use the equipment, much damage can occur and lead to dangerous consequences. Wear patterns and pathways are also a problem. High volumes of foot traffic can wear a way natural grass causing ruts and an uneven surface area. Artificial turf is created to remain intact no matter how often children play on it, or how rough they get — and it is designed to withstand the use of many different visitors.

Part of the installation preparation for artificial turf is the process of smoothing out any rough, uneven areas and eliminating deep grooves or ruts that could potentially create a tripping hazard. Once the turf is installed, the brilliantly green grass will remain in tact. The blades of fake grass will not mat down or remain compressed for long periods of time. The materials used in synthetic grass and lawns will not break down or deteriorate over even years of use.

Stop Slipping

Natural grass can become slick when wet. In the mornings when dew is still covering the ground or after a heavy rain, children can slip or lose their footing if they are not extra careful. This can lead to accidents and injuries if they fall on or near pieces of playground equipment. In areas where bare earth is showing, like under slides and swings, water can create a muddy mess that can be extremely hard to walk or run through without slipping or sliding. Worn pathways can also expose dirt creating a trail of mud and loose dirt.

Artificial turf is manufactured and designed to be slip-resistant. It does not deteriorate with regular wear and tear, but instead remains securely in place with a solid foundation for children to play on.

Softer Than Even The Gentlest Dirt

High levels of foot traffic can impact a playground surface. First, frequent use can damage the grass (if it is natural, of course) and wear away the top soil. When this happens, it causes the surface of the ground to become uneven or even potentially sloped. Secondly, constant foot traffic can pack down the dirt around playground equipment so it is extremely hard and unforgiving if a child falls from any height. It is also more difficult to maintain playground surfaces when exposed areas of dirt exist.

With artificial turf, the ground is thoroughly prepared prior to installation. A drainage system included with the material itself prevents pooling and puddling in the event of rain or moisture, and a filler material is used to cover the mesh backing that creates the foundation of the turf.

Can Playgrounds Be Safer and Kid-Friendly Using Artificial Turf?

r choice in cities and parks across the country. Not only is it a cost effective choice, but it can also help protect children from illness and injury. Additionally, in locales where drought conditions are a problem, artificial turf is a maintenance-free product that requires no additional moisture to look brilliantly green.

Artificial Turf Reduces Allergen Exposure

Unlike natural grass, artificial grass produces no pollen, and its soil-free construction prevents the growth of weeds and similar plants. With a natural grass lawn, pollination can be a problem for children who are extremely allergic, such as frequent sufferers of hay fever and other upper respiratory problems. In a playground setting, where children are constantly running, jumping and diving into the grass, pollen and dust can become a major problem. Artificial turf eliminates the production of pollen, except for that which comes from nearby trees.

It Creates Even, Safe Terrain

In playgrounds, one of the biggest dangers to children is uneven terrain — the overused, rough, or washed out areas where high volumes of foot traffic and weather have eroded the surface of the ground. Bare spots can form under swings, or at the base of slides, both of which lead to tripping hazards. As natural grass grows, it can also hide debris like sticks and rocks embedded in its surface. Children who are playing are often not watching where they are going or stepping, and they can trip or fall due to any of these hazards.
Artificial turf, however, is installed with one even height. This prevents debris from being hidden, as it can be easily spotted and removed before anyone gets hurt. Additionally, artificial turf will not wear away or erode due to high volumes of foot traffic, prevent the wearing of paths into a playground surface.

Turf is Easier on Skin and Clothing

Children enjoy rolling and tumbling in the grass — they run, they fall and, for the most part, they do all of this and still come out unscathed. Playgrounds that have been resurfaced with artificial turf can reduce the risk of injury while also helping to protect children’s clothing. Thanks to its synthetic blades, there is no bright green chlorophyll to stain clothes, and the texture of the synthetic fibers will not damage most fabrics. Although artificial turf playground surfacing can be slightly more abrasive than natural grass, it rarely causes discomfort or harms the skin.

Another advantage to artificial turf playground surfacing is that the surface of the ground stays constant. With natural grass and dirt, the ground can become choppy and uneven, especially after a good rain. It is much easier for debris to build up and because a problem with natural grass than it is with artificial turf. Rocks and small sticks can become lodged in dirt leaving them sticking out just enough to cut the skin or cause a bruise if a small child would happen to land on them.

 

Turf Inhibits Bacterial Growth

Worried about your child picking up an unsanitary type of bacteria at the local park playground? If it features artificial turf, you have nothing to fear. Most brands of artificial turf contain anti-microbial agents that help fend off any bacteria or virus strains. While there will always be a small degree of bacteria in playground settings, artificial turf minimizes the amount compared to what is found on countertops, in public restrooms and other areas. As long as you and your child follow hygienic habits, exposure to bacteria at the playground can be kept to a minimum.

Reduce Your Child’s Chance Of Injury By Installing Artificial Turf

Natural grass is safe, right? Not as much as you might think. In fact, artificial turf can be much safer in regards to falls.

Official Reports Show Injuries

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9.2 million children and youth from newborns to 19-years-old must get emergency room treatment for non-fatal injuries. While falls don’t account for the entire number of unintentional injuries, falls are included in the list of situations where children’s injuries must be treated in a hospital.

Artificial Turf Promotes Safety

The safety features of artificial turf on playgrounds are reasons why athletic fields and playgrounds have used it for decades. Natural grass can have items like rocks, sticks, and thorny weeds and all those things could potentially cause an injury to your child. This is especially true if your child is a rough-and-tumble, always-outdoors type of kid. Artificial turf can be a safer alternative for your child in three ways:
• The ground is level.
• There is no mud to slip on.
• There is plenty of cushion for falls.
• There are unknown objects in the yard that can cause injuries.

The Ground Becomes Level

Artificial turf installation creates a more level ground where it could have some unexpected dips and hills previously. Hills and dips can cause children, who typically don’t pay attention while they are playing, to fall. In an artificial grass installation, those installing it level the ground prior to installation. So, your children will play on a safe, level surface.

There will no longer be muddy areas in your yard with synthetic grass installation. Mud is slippery and contributes to falls, so reduction of it means your children will no longer slip because of it.

Artificial Turf Removes Dangerous Objects

Most yards with natural grass also contain things like rocks, sticks and other objects that can contribute to injuries in falls. Injuries include things like scrapes, cuts, and bruises. Installing artificial grass will remove all of those objects. The artificial turf backing covers the ground and prevents anything in the dirt from poking or growing through. This also contributes to safety.

Since weeds and other things are no longer growing through the artificial grass, your yard will no longer have things like sticker weeds that causes both aggravation and pain for children playing outside.

There Is Cushion

Artificial turf provides an excellent cushion for children when they do fall, which could reduce injuries. The blades are made of polypropylene and nylon, so they are comfortable and soft when falls occur.

The backing of synthetic grass offers a cushion system. Components like a polyester foam or rubber are used to make the base. Rubber or plastic recycling programs are sometimes utilized to make the backing system, which gives it both durability and safety.

Infills offer a certain amount of cushion also. Rounded silica granules are sand that is produced with no edges, so they won’t produce any cuts or scraps on children. The coating also provides a type of cushion that softens hard falls.

Crumb rubber infill offers significant protection from falls because of rubber springs, providing a bit of bounce in falls. This is why it is widely used in public playground areas. A crumb rubber infill will go a long way to prevent a childhood injury occurring in a fall.

Parents may find installing artificial turf will give them peace of mind knowing their children will be safer from accidents during playtime outside.