When designing or updating a playground, safety needs to be one of your primary concerns. Although the main purpose of a playground is to let children have fun, it’s important to take precautions against any accidents that may occur. Understanding critical fall height (CFH) and the measures you need to take to account for it is the first step in providing a safe play environment. We put together this guide to help you get started.
What is critical fall height?
Every piece of play equipment will have its own individual critical fall height. This is the maximum height at which a child could theoretically fall from the equipment onto the ground. Safety flooring must legally be installed in any playground where there is equipment with a critical fall height of 0.6 meters or higher. A playground should not contain any play equipment with a fall height greater than 3 meters. These limits are defined by British and European Standards EN 1177. a tile 70mm or thicker should be used.
Although safety surfacing is not required by law if the maximum fall height is below 0.6 meters, it is still highly advisable. Flooring such as our rubber playground safety tiles and mat can seriously reduce the impact and risk of injury from falls at any height.
Choosing appropriate safety surfacing
When choosing your playground safety surface you need to know the critical fall heights of all your play equipment and then use these to calculate the depth of surfacing required. The higher the critical fall height, the deeper your safety flooring needs to be to provide adequate cushioning in the event of an accident.
In most instances, the CFH of the highest piece of equipment is used to determine the maximum depth of surfacing required and this is then applied throughout your play area. Alternatively, you can zone the play area so the flooring is at different thicknesses around different pieces of equipment.
The Critical Fall Height graph below can be used to calculate the thickness of safety flooring required for your playground. So, for example, where a 2 meters high climbing frame is being used in a play area a safety surface of 70mm depth or more should be used.
Our Rubber Playground Safety Surfacing
SARPCO manufacture, supply and install a range of high-quality rubber playground safety tiles and mats as well as wet pour rubber safety surfacing. Our surfacing is non-slip, offers excellent cushioning from falls and complies with all relevant Health and Safety legislation including the British and European EN 1177 standard. We offer a wide range of colors and our safety surfacing can be fully customized with designs of your choosing.
Our playground safety flooring is also environmentally friendly as we use a minimum of 90% high-grade recycled rubber in all of our products.
If you are planning a new playground or thinking of updating an existing play area, we will be happy to advise you on achieving the correct amount of cushioning for the relevant critical fall height of your play equipment.