Playground Surfacing Checklist: ADA Accessibility
Children should always be free to play and run free without being restricted by any form of disability. Thankfully, there are guidelines that have been put in place by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to preserve that freedom.
The ADA ensures that playgrounds are safe, inclusive, and accessible spaces for all children and families. Below you’ll learn more about the standards the ADA has put in place for playground design!
ADA Accessibility: Why it is Important
The American Community Survey (ACS) estimates the overall rate of people with disabilities in the US population in 2015 was 12.6%. Taking the proper steps to foster an inclusive play area for caregivers, parents, and children of all walks of life should be the primary focus.
The Department of Justice has curated ADA standards for public facilities to ensure that every play area, old or new, meets ADA compliance, and provides guidelines for eradicating disability-based discrimination.
Whether a playground is privately-owned, government-owned, or otherwise dictates what restrictions and guidelines are placed on the facility by the ADA. Here are a few general tips for maintaining ADA compliance with your playground surfacing:
Utilize surfaces that are firm, slip-resistant, and stable.
- Ensure that the playground design caters to individuals that use walkers, wheelchairs, or any other form of mobility aid.
Take care to guarantee that the surfacing on, leading up to, and surrounding the playground is the correct depth to sufficiently cushion potential falls.
Use our critical fall height chart to make finding the proper depth quick and easy!
ADA Accessible Playground Surfaces
The Duraturf PIP surfacing product by Sport Surface Specialties is designed to be the highest quality ADA playground surfacing available. With Duraturf, you can choose the depth of the poured in place rubber to comply with the critical fall height of the commercial playground equipment. We can build your custom playground surfacing to any depth and with any color combination, you can think of. We also comply with all ASTM and ADA surfacing regulations, making your playground accessible to everyone.
Dura Turf Bonded by Sport Surface Specialties offers a traditional, natural look to your surface. Dura Turf Bonded uses premium 100% recycled shredded rubber, and offers a variety of color options that give you the look of shredded natural fiber mulch, without the maintenance of loose mulch. The installation process creates a unitary flat surface at the top of the bonded rubber. This surface is perfect for children to play of all abilities and still maintains a highly effective safety surfaceing.
DuraTurf Trail by Sport Surface Specialties will transform all of your walking trails into beautiful, safer, and more durable rubber pathways and trails. Knee and back impact is greatly reduced and the surface is slip-resistant. DuraTurf Trail creates an attractive alternative to traditional trails offering low maintenance and high durability. No more muddy trails, and eliminates out of control weeds. Debris is more visible helping to eliminate injuries caused by stones, broken glass or other potentially hazardous material left on the trail.
Our Duraturf Artificial Grass Product resembles natural grass and is constructed to last years and years without maintenance. It is easy to clean and safe for multiple types of play areas. It also creates a flat easily maneuverable surface area which is ADA compliant. Utilize our Duraturf artificial grass product for playgrounds, dog parks, and any other commercial or recreation area!
How does this affect playground design?
In the opinion of the United States Access Board, “Inaccessible surfaces can pose barriers for children with disabilities who may use canes, crutches, walkers or wheelchairs from ambulating through the play area. Pushing a wheelchair over loose gravel or sand requires tremendous physical effort. When so much effort is exerted, little to no energy is left for play.”
When designing a playground for ADA standards, it is necessary to integrate accessible features amongst the standard features, rather than creating a separate “handicapped zone.” ADA guidelines dictate that there must be a specific number of accessible features per each inaccessible feature in the playground.
Sport Surface Specialties has created an ADA Playground Accessibility checklist that can be downloaded free of charge. We hope this will be a resource to help throughout the playground planning process.
This checklist is intended to be an educational resource that promotes ADA compliance. Users are highly encouraged to research standards and seek additional information as necessary. If you're building bleachers for your facility, refer to National Recreation Systems for their ADA compliant bleachers.