Is Rubber Mulch Safe For Kids and Pets?

Is Rubber Mulch Safe For Kids and Pets?

Beyond its fun-filled and exciting facade, playgrounds play an important role in developing children’s physical, social, and cognitive skills. Because their primary users are kids, having safe playground surfaces is essential.

Today, one of the most popular materials for playground surfacing is rubber mulch.

The Importance of Playground Surfacing

Did you know that around 70% of injuries sustained in playgrounds can be attributed to unsafe surfaces?

With proper playground surfacing, you have a protective layer that absorbs impact once a child falls. This minimizes the risk of the child sustaining serious injury, especially if it involves the head.

Playground surfacing doesn’t just minimize injuries among children. They also make play spaces friendly for pets, even for parents and the elderly who may be watching kids or simply passing by.

On The Safety of Rubber Mulch

Because it’s important to have safe playground surfaces, playground designers and builders pay significant attention to the material that they are using. As stated, rubber mulch is one of the most widely used materials for playground surfacing.

Rubber mulch is a loose-fill material composed of minute rubber particles or rubber chunks. Those used in playgrounds are recycled rubber (e.g. From old tires). But while it’s popular, many people still wonder if it’s really safe for kids and even for pets.

In one landmark study by the Texas A&M University School of Public Health, they found that crumb rubber contains traces of heavy metals such as zinc, lead, and chromium. Despite these heavy metals’ presence, it was proven that they present minimal health risks because their concentration is at a safe level. In addition, there are new manufacturing techniques today that also make sure the rubber mulch is free from heavy metals. More importantly, these risks are significantly compensated for by the injury risk reduction they contribute to playground environments.

In fact, both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) promote the use of rubber mulch. For playgrounds, particularly, governing bodies implement a set of standards that playground owners must meet. Meaning, the type of rubber mulch that should be used must be free of fiber, wire, plastic, and any other hazardous contaminants.

The Advantages of Rubber Mulch

Today, playground owners and rubber mulch manufacturers that diligently comply with industry standards are experiencing the many advantages of this surfacing material.

Essential to safe playground surfaces, rubber mulch has adequate shock absorbency capabilities that effectively minimize fall risk among children. It’s also more economical compared with other options.

These loose-fill materials are also easier to transport and install. And because they’re widely available, you won’t have to worry about not being able to gather enough mulch for your playground environment.

Additionally, rubber mulch has a longer lifespan: It can last for up to a decade. Afterward, you can simply top it off with a new layer, practically beefing up your playground’s cushioning capacity.

To ensure that the rubber mulch you’ll be using to surface your playground is safe, only choose a supplier that has a good reputation. Select a business that conforms to EPA and ADA guidelines, and has a clean track record as evidenced by reviews and testimonials from previous clients.

Are you looking for safe playground surfaces? Check out what we have for you at General Recreation. Contact us today for more information about our different products and services.

Category Gaming, Kids

Skye Marshall

Ivy Skye Marshall: Ivy, a social justice reporter, covers human rights issues, social movements, and stories of community resilience.