Playground Critical Fall Height

Playground Fall Height.

What is the “Playground Critical Fall Height” for Playground mats and tiles and playground surfacing?

The playground critical fall height of a playground surface is based on the height of the highest piece of equipment that a child can stand on. This height will determine the thickness or impact attenuation a playground surface must have as described in ASTM F1292.

ASTM F1292 testing will provide a “critical height” rating of the playground mats or surface. This height can be viewed as an approximation of the playground fall height which is below the level that would be expected to cause a life threatening head injury.

When looking for playground mats, playground tiles or playground surfacing, it is very important to have the manufacturer or installer provide the playground critical fall height rating of their materials. Rubber Flooring Direct will only supply material that has met or exceeded the critical fall height ratings for the appropriate playground equipment. We make it a standard procedure to provide our customers with the proper documentation and requirements needed to assure you are getting the right material for your playground. Don’t be tricked by a company that says the tiles are good enough. Make sure you are buying the right playground surfacing for your playground. You can’t put a price on the safety of the children playing on your playground.

How is the “Playground Critical Fall Height” determined?

The most common way that playground mats and tiles are tested is a method used for evaluating the shock absorbing properties of a playground surfacing material. This method is dropping an instrumented metal head-form onto a sample of the playground surfacing material and to record the acceleration – time pulse during acceleration. Simply put, how fast and hard the metal head-form hits the surface from varying heights.

Note: For both field and laboratory test methods, please refer to ASTM F1292.

How is the height of the playground equipment determined?

The Playground Critical fall height of equipment is determined by the distance between the highest designated play area of the equipment and the play surface underneath. This is measured form the point at which the feet can stand and not the overall top of the playground equipment. Many pieces of equipment have tops of coverings so the measurement is not taken form that point but where the child would be standing at the highest point during normal play.

For example if you had a pyramid, climbing up that pyramid you would not be measuring the fall height from the very tip of the pyramid since you can’t stand on the tip. You would measure form the point at which the feet can stand.

Why is the Playground Critical fall height important?

There are a lot of companies out there that would tell you that you don’t have to worry about the fall height of your playground surfacing. We have seen many playgrounds, especially in private preschools, where they will use an indoor/outdoor carpet with a pad underneath it. Many of the schools can have a long history of injury free play, but all it takes is one bad fall by a child that can result in life threatening injuries. Once a child is severely injured or even worse, suffers a fatal injury, the money saved by installing an inferior playground surface becomes very unimportant, not to mention the legal liability this situation can create.

So give us a call and we will provide you with everything you need to know about playground surfacing and playground safety and as always, if we don’t have what you are looking for we will help you find it. Our commitment to you is to give the best service available even if you buy somewhere else. Give us a call at 800-279-1693.