In November 2010, the Consumer Products Safety Commission released an update to their Public Playground Safety Handbook, guidelines that are used around the country for specifying safe playground equipment, layout, accessibility and surfacing materials.  SCDHEC follows these guidelines when inspecting public playgrounds such as those found at schools, daycares, churches and parks.

1.5 Significant Revisions for 2008

1.5.1 Equipment guidelines

  • Age ranges expanded to include children as young as 6 months based on ASTM F2373
  • Guidelines for track rides and log rolls added
  • Exit zone requirements for slides harmonized with ASTM F1487

1.5.2 Surfacing guidelines

  • Critical height table revised
  • Suggestions for surfacing over asphalt added

1.5.3 General guidelines

  • Suggestions on sun exposure added

1.5.4 Other revisions

  • Editorial changes to make the Handbook easier to understand and use.


Revised Loose Fill Surfacing Guidelines
Inches of Loose Fill Material Fall Height (ft)
9″ Wood Chips 10′
9″ Shredded or Recyclyed Rubber 10′
9″ Wood Mulch (Non-CCA or Pressure Treated) 7′
9″ Pea Gravel 5′
9″ Sand 4′


Note: Mulch compacts approximately 25% over time due to weathering and traffic. To maintain recommended fill heights, you need to install 12″ of material.