Daycare centers, church playgrounds, community recreation centers, and other public areas are guided by rules and regulations for providing the appropriate amount of cushioning material, whether it’s sand, wood chips, or mulch, in all areas that surround playground equipment. The padding softens falls and reduces the risk of head and limb injuries.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Agency sets the guidelines to help improve childrens’ safety. The key is to use loose-fill materials so that they have room to compact and absorb the shock of a fall. It is recommended that playgrounds have a minimum of 12 inches deep of loose materials, such as hardwood fiber mulch or chips, and fine sand. That soft base is also required to extend past the area where any play equipment is higher than six feet, to prevent harm if someone should fall.