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Why Artificial Turf is the Best Choice for Playground Surfaces

Artificial turf is revolutionizing the way playgrounds are constructed and giving people a safe, longer lasting surface for playgrounds. It is the most desirable choice for playground surfacing because it is the cleanest, safest, most durable, low maintenance, and best-looking material. It is also the most persistent and best for the environment.

Safety

Composed of woven nylon yarn layered with fabric backing, artificial turf is the safest material for playground surfaces, is much softer than wood chips, smoother than sand, and is slip-resistant which means less falling during play. It meets ASTM Safety rating up to 12 feet high, which means in the case of a fall from a height of twelve feet your child will be protected by the artificial turf surface and reduce the chance of serious injury, especially head injuries. For safety, choose artificial turf that also meets ADA accessibility qualifications for wheelchairs- the surface of the grass should be firm and smooth allowing wheelchairs to roll across with ease. Easily preserved without constant maintenance, it has no displacement of material like sand or wood chips allowing for higher safety ratings.

Health

Unlike natural turf, artificial turf helps limit ankle, knee, shoulder and elbow impact injuries. It is 100% non-toxic, resists UV rays, and is CPSC certified. Throughout the day, most conventional playground surfaces change consistency and get hot becoming dangerous and undesirable to play on. However, artificial turf may be lightly watered to cool it down during midday heat making it safer for children to continue playing and provide parents with peace of mind.

Cleanliness

With no material displacement, kids stay cleaner using artificial turf. This surface will not come apart and get stuck to clothes, socks, or shoes- no sand or woodchips carried out in pockets or cuffs. Artificial turf will not make a mess and drag remaining pieces of the playground surface into the house or car. It is designed to stay soft and solid and will not deplete or weaken over time making a mess of areas around the playground. Cleaner than  wood chips and sand, it is designed with anti-microbial agents which kill and inhibit growth of microorganisms like fungi and bacteria commonly found in other loose-fill playground surfaces.

Longevity

Wood chips and sand have to be refilled and renewed frequently. Repairs on turf are far more attractive than other surfaces, less frequent and less expensive. High-quality artificial turf uses blades 300 microns thick, while lower quality turf uses blades 150 microns thick- that’s twice as thick meaning twice as durable and enduring. Look for 8 year warranties against fading as opposed to 5 year warranties for PIP surfaces.

Appearance

Newly developed artificial turf products look and feel more like natural grass than the old synthetic turf products. Artificial turf comes in different lengths of blade and a tan thatch to help it look real. It also comes with the options of multiple colors and can be patterned, it’s not just your normal old green grass. Artificial turf will not move and get pushed around and make a mess like wood chips and sand- it doesn’t fade, lose consistency, or change shape. It keeps its appearance and strength much longer than other playground surfaces.

Environmental

Artificial turf uses recycled plastic bottles for the backing material, is comprised of 99% post-industrial and consumer products that can also be recycled again and again. It provides points or credits for architects in the earnings of LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Artificial turf is made up of all recycled material making it completely environmentally safe and better for the economy.

Artificial turf is clearly the best choice, using the best materials designed for safety, health, strength, appearance, and the environment. It is the superior decision in playground surfacing.

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Sloan Bunting, co-owner of Prodek, Inc. in Glendale, California, is an expert on recycled rubber pour-in-place playground surfaces. Find more information on recycled rubber surfacing at: http://www.prodek.net.

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