|Greatmats Home Sport and Play Mats|
But if you live in a climate with frigid, long winters, an endless rainy season, or a sultry, hot summer, outdoor playground are off limits for long periods of the year.
This has led to a rise in indoor playgrounds. From home and corporate daycare centers, churches and community centers, airports and shopping malls to private homes, indoor playgrounds are growing in popularity. These days, you can find indoor playgrounds in child care centers, fast food restaurants, children's museums, health and fitness centers and theme parks. With the rise of community and commercial indoor playgrounds, parents have discovered an indoor playground can be a great place to host a child's birthday party.
But just as it is important to make sure playground equipment is safe, the flooring surface of your indoor playground is equally as important. Obviously, a concrete surface offers no protection when a child slips or falls. Carpet is not much better. Fortunately there are many new products from rolled rubber to plastic tiles that can make an indoor playground a safe, inviting and colorful place to play.
Fall Height Protection
Whenever you are creating a playground, you need to be concerned that the surfaces you choose meet the recommended fall heights for the equipment you will be installing. Fall height is the distance between the ground and the highest step or platform that a child might climb to. A surface with a proper fall height will lessen the severity of injuries, particularly life threatening head injuries, for the little ones that use your indoor playground.
The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) is the primary organization that rates playground surfaces. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has created safety standards for playgrounds, both indoors and out, and has a PDF specifically about indoor playground surfaces.
Rubber is the top choice for outdoor playground surfaces. It can withstand the weather, is very durable and can have very high fall height ratings. There are plenty of rubber flooring options, but let's start with some indoor products that may be more comfortable and soft than outdoor rubber tiles.
Plastic Indoor Playground Surfaces
|StayLock Orange Peel Tiles|
Tiles can be installed on any indoor surface including concrete and carpet, without an underlayment. You can cut to fit around obstructions. The unique active locking design means that tiles won't separate over time and they provide a 20 inch fall height, so they are best for preschool sized playgrounds.
|Ergo Matta Solid CushionTred Tiles|
Another brand to look at is Ergo Matta. Its Solid CushionTred tiles are manufactured from durable 100% recycled rubber and flexible PVC plastic to be soft and supportive as well as long lasting. The tiles are available in a range of colors including blue, yellow, green, red, gray, black, white and beige and cost between $6 and $7 per square foot. The diamond shield tread increases traction and reduces falls.
Foam Indoor Playground Surfaces
|Greatmats Indoor Playground Foam Tiles|
Rubber Indoor Playground Surfaces
For higher fall heights, like 8 or 10 feet, you'll want to look at a rubber surface. Make sure any rubber product you choose is low odor and designed for indoor use.
Specialty flooring retailer Greatmats.com has a large selection of rubber tiles, and its expert customer service reps can help you make the right choice for your equipment and budget.