Selecting the Safest Play Surface for Your Children

Selecting the Safest Play Surface for Your Children

Kids love to play on a swing set or a climbing gym, and Phoenix parents are always happy to see their children playing outside and not staring blankly at the TV or a video game. But many parent struggle when trying to select the best surface to install under their kids play sets.

Many parents feel that grass in a play area will be the safest choice for their children. It reduces the chance of scraped knees and is softer than rock. But after just a few weeks, they find that maintaining the grass near a play set is almost impossible. The posts and play features block the even coverage of the sprinkler system and cause some areas to burn while others get too much water. And trimming around all of the post can be time consuming. And finally, in the fall, when the weather finally cools down and kids really want to be outdoors, it is time to over seed. Now you are forced to keep the kids away from the play area for about a month as the winter grass begins to germinate. By now most parents are rethinking the whole grass idea.

After trying the grass, many parents will opt to remove the turf and try a small pea gravel, sand or mulch around play areas. The sand is soft and less dangerous for falls but your play land often turns into the largest litter box in the neighborhood once the local cats find it. The sand also tends to hold moisture which will attract bugs and scorpions. These critters will burrow in the cool sand in the evenings and still be there when children come out to play. The only way to ensure that children will not get bit or stung when playing in the sand is to rake the sand each day before play time. Small rock, pea gravel and mulch all offer a potential for cuts and scrapes from falls or playing without shoes.

Many parents are finding that a newer product, often referred to as play mulch, is a great solution to all of these issues. This surface is a recycled rubber product that is available in many different colors. Most brands offer a warranty of about 5 years on the durability of the surface even when used in Phoenix. When selecting the brand of play mulch for your yard, be sure to select a brand that is treated with an antimicrobial. This will ensure that bacteria, mold and mildew will not be a hazard for your children.

Finding a surface that is both safe for your children to play on and will not require hours of maintenance can be challenging. And unfortunately the harsh climate of Phoenix only makes the selection more difficult. The best solution is investing in the soft sponge like play mulch. It will keep both parents and kids happy for many years.


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Kathy Koewler 
Phoenix Frugal Living Blogger


     Frugal Living

     August 22, 2012

     No Comments

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