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What Is Critical Fall Height?

Critical fall height (CFH) is a vital safety standard for playground surfaces that was established by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). In essence, CFH is a measure of how well a surface absorbs impact, providing insight into how well the surface can protect against injury. It’s the height below which a life-threatening head injury should not occur, measured as the vertical distance between the playground surface and the highest play area. It’s important to understand playground surfaces’ CFH so you can take steps to reduce the risk of injuries. 

How Is Critical Fall Height Measured?

Critical fall …

When it comes to playgrounds, the priority is to provide an environment that’s fun, healthy and, above all, safe for kids to enjoy. So there are good reasons for us all to question if recycled rubber mulch, also known as “crumb,” is the right choice for playgrounds.

If you’re a parent of a young child or manage or oversee a playground, you might have heard a lot of debate around the pros and cons of rubber mulch. In recent years, rubber mulch — commonly made from recycled rubber tires — has risen in usage across the U.S. because of its …

Playground surfacing under swingset

Whether you’re charged with caring for and maintaining a playground or you’re planning to build a new one, it’s essential to know how long various types of playground surfaces will last and when it’s time to replace them.

When it comes to playground surface life expectancy, it comes down to a few critical factors. These include the materials the flooring, pathways, carpet, synthetic grass, protective mats, and other surfaces are made of and whether or not they were correctly installed.

Traditional Playground Surface Life Expectancy

High-quality poured-in-place and rubber tile playground flooring, as well as artificial turf, will commonly last …

An Explanation of the New ASTM F3351 Test Method for Specified Height and Why It’s Important

ASTM F1292 has been a safety standard since the early 90s. It tests for the critical fall height (CFH) of a playground surface. Recently, ASTM International brought about some changes to this familiar playground surfacing standard, and everyone in the industry should know about these new requirements.


What Is Critical Fall Height (CFH)?

CFH is calculated by impact testing a safety surface with a device known as a Triax impact tester. The Triax uses a head form that, when dropped on the surface, reports …

Playground Surface Testing Guide

Playground Surface Testing Guide

Whether they’re in the backyard or a public park, playgrounds are where childhoods are made. Children spend hours climbing ladders, sliding down slides, swinging across monkey bars and, perhaps most importantly of all, running and playing with friends. Playgrounds are where children can burn off steam after a long day of school. They are where they can practice social skills like sharing and compassion. And, they are where children can put their imaginations to work, creating games and stories of all kinds.

Being on the playground is an important part of a child’s development, and it …

Play is an essential part of a child’s development. All children need access to play, regardless of ability. In order to provide enriching experiences to all the children they serve, playgrounds in the United States need to meet safety standards and guidelines for accessibility as outlined in the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). These standards provide welcome guidance for the design and construction of a playground.

ADA guidelines for accessible playgrounds encompass multiple aspects of the play area, including equipment and routes to access it. Though it may seem like a small detail in comparison, good surfacing is one of …

how deep should playground mulch be 

Every year, more than 200,000 children in the U.S. are treated in an emergency room for playground-related injuries . Many of these trips to the ER could be avoided by installing protective surfacing at the right depth and thickness. The surface under and around play equipment is a crucial factor in reducing the risk of injury, especially life-threatening accidents.

Recreation surfacing such as mulch, synthetic grass and indoor carpet makes any play area safer . But the material needs to be thick and deep enough to absorb shock and provide enhanced protection against falls and tumbles.

Not sure how many …

Playgrounds are an essential part of any school, daycare or community. They encourage social, cognitive and physical development and create lasting memories in a child’s life. That’s why it’s critical for a playground to be safe and accessible for children of all levels and abilities.

Falling causes almost 70% of playground injuries , according to the National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS). While falls are unavoidable, serious injuries can be prevented by adhering to playground fall zone requirements.

Not sure what the fall zone of a playground is? Zeager Bros., Inc. is at your service. We’ll explain playground fall …

When it comes to playground surface options, it matters which material you choose. Some surfaces offer superior playground fall protection, while other materials are simply unsafe. You want to install a playground surface material that can cushion a fall and fit into your budget.

Falls onto playground surfaces are the number one reason children get sent to the emergency room. While a scraped knee might not be concerning, some fall-related injuries are serious. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 20,000 children are treated for a playground-related traumatic brain injury …

safest playground surface

When building a playground, whether for a school, community or residential property, nothing is more important than safety. One of the critical parts of a safe playground is the surfacing material used.

Looking for the best material for your playground surface? Safe playground surfacing is designed to cushion a fall and is a playground necessity. No matter what precautions parents, teachers and other caregivers take, falls are inevitable sometimes. Children jump from swings or roughhouse on playsets when parents turn their heads. Sometimes children simply lose their balance on a piece of equipment. When this happens, they need to land …

how to create a sensory rich playground

Outdoor play is an important opportunity for children to learn, grow and develop life-skills. Children with any level of developmental ability need sensory stimuli to get the most out of their playtime. There are plenty of ways to turn an ordinary playground into an interactive, safe and entertaining area for all children to enjoy and benefit from.

A sensory-rich environment is especially important for children with certain disabilities like visual impairment or a developmental disorder such as autism. It’s important for communities to acknowledge the need for playgrounds that are designed to help all children develop. The Centers for Disease …

IMAG0077 (Small)Zeager Bros., Inc. has been recommending to our customers the need to install WoodCarpet® engineered wood fiber (EWF) over a recommended drainage system for several reasons. Some of these reasons has been to extend the life of the EWF, limit mold & fungus growth, and to limit the EWF from freezing therefore making the surfacing less resilient during freezing temperatures. This study focused on the decay rate of the EWF. 

The Value of Engineered Wood Fiber For Playgrounds & Trail Surfaces

Engineered wood fiber (EWF) is still a commonly used playground and trail surface because of its low, initial cost, its good impact attenuating characteristics and ability to knit together for accessibility purposes. Those terms are commonly used along with this popular surface but another term that comes to mind is maintenance. Ask most playground owners and operators and it’s commonly thought that more maintenance is just a trade-off for the low initial cost of EWF.

But for Zeager Bros. Inc., a national manufacturer of EWF located in Middletown, Pa …

Playground safety has come a long way from when you were a kid. Instead of hard, unforgiving surfaces such as concrete or asphalt, there are now numerous outdoor playground flooring options available to cushion falls and help to prevent serious injuries to children. You can choose a playground safety surface made from impact-absorbent materials such as rubber, wood fiber and artificial turf grass. In this post, we’ll explore the various benefits and possible drawbacks of each type of safety surfacing for playgrounds.

girl playing with bubbles

Rubber Playground Surfacing

Rubber surfaces are typically available in the form of playground rubber mulch or tiles made …

two children at a park

In 2011 and 2012, 1.5% of children in the U.S. public school system had a health or physical impairment while 0.9% lived with autism. Children with developmental delays accounted for 0.8% of enrolled children and children with learning disabilities totaled 4.7% of students.

three children on a swing

Many children going to school across the country have special needs requiring extra attention. All children have a right to a fun and happy childhood, including safe and enjoyable places to play. Children with special needs have conditions that can affect how they access and experience spaces designed for kids, so it’s important to …

Budget conscious school boards and parks and recreation departments are constantly looking for affordable ways to create accessible spaces everyone can enjoy. When using engineered wood fiber for playgrounds, several issues must be addressed in order to meet ADA guidelines. Compaction factor — the amount that a material will compress — is frequently misunderstood by playground designers.

Understanding how engineered wood fiber products compact is an important consideration when using them in a playground. Any material installed in a high traffic area must be firm enough to allow children with mobility issues to use the space safely. When designing a …

Staying compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is critical when designing school playgrounds, parks and other recreational spaces. Aside from the legal consequences of noncompliance, the ADA serves as a guideline for creating accessible play areas — an important consideration when building spaces for young people, which by their nature should be inclusive of everyone.

ADA playground guidelines are extensive and one often overlooked area is the use of loose fill surfacing materials such as engineered wood fiber. Engineered wood fiber is known for its affordability, impact absorption and slip-resistance qualities that can make it a useful …

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