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Is Wood Playground Mulch Safe?

Whether you’re planning for your own backyard or putting together a community park, the safety of the children who will enjoy it remains your first priority. Installing a reliably built and safe swing set is the first step to guaranteeing this. Placing the right playground mulch is also important. While wood mulch once stood as the most popular playground mulch material, parents are beginning to question whether wood playground mulch is really safe — or if new rubber mulch is a better option. Since Adventure World Play Sets is your swing set and backyard play source, we can break down this safety question for you.

Even when playing on the safest swing sets, children can still fall. In fact, the National Program for Playground Safety estimates that 80% of playground injuries are the result of falling. That doesn’t mean that children shouldn’t get to enjoy swing sets and playing outside — it means that we should put the best precautions in place to prevent serious injury.

Is Wood Mulch Safe for My Swing Set?

Compared to having no protection at all — or using an outdated material like asphalt — wood mulch is fairly safe. When sufficiently placed around a playset, wood mulch or wood chips do a decent job of protecting children. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission rates wood mulch as an above-average playground surface.

However, wood mulch is far from the best material on the market. This especially holds true when considering the needs of homeowners compared to those of schools and parks. Simply put, the downsides of wood mulch mean that we cannot fully endorse it knowing that there are better materials on the market.

Downsides of Wood Mulch

Although wood mulch does have comparable fall projection to our own ultra-safe brand of rubber mulch, there are some definite downsides. The downsides concern its use around children — and the maintenance frustrations for parents.

  • Splinters — Since this type of mulch is made of real wood, wood chips can cause splinters for the children playing on it. Not the worst thing in the world, but no parent wants to see their kid get a splinter if it can be prevented.
  • Mold — Wood chips begin growing mold as soon as they get wet. Since wood is a natural product, it is susceptible to natural problems. Inhaling mold spores can trigger breathing difficulties for children with asthma. Strictly speaking, this is the number one safety issue with wood mulch.
  • Freezing factor — During the winter, wood mulch freezes solid. So, if your kids are playing outside on a relatively nice winter day, the frozen mulch won’t provide them ANY protection.
  • Yearly replacement — Mulch needs to be replaced at least every year. Mulch will decompose over the course of the year, eventually becoming just too gross to keep using. While wood chips are relatively cheap, replacing them year-after-year adds up. The other downside: While schools and boroughs have a maintenance staff to re-spread the mulch, you would have to handle it yourself or hire a landscaper.

Rubber Mulch from Adventure World Play Sets

When children are concerned, vinyl and rubber should be synonymous with safety. We wrap our playsets and swing sets in vinyl to ensure they are the safest, splinter-free sets on the market. That’s why we use rubber as our recommended ultra-safe playground material.

The rubber mulch from Adventure World Play Sets is the safest, most stylish, and BEST playground material on the market.

  • Rubber mulch is 100% splinter-free — just like vinyl playsets are.
  • Rubber is completely immune to mold growth, so it stays safe and clean for your children.
  • You’ll never need to replace our mulch. In fact, the rubber mulch surrounding your swing set will last as long as the playset itself — which is a really, really long time.
  • Our mulch is stylish and comes in five creative color choices.
  • Most importantly, rubber mulch provides the best fall protection for your kids — bar none.
safe rubber mulch used for playgrounds

Rubber Mulch Fall Height Protection

The depth of rubber mulch you place around your set determines the height of a fall your children will be protected from.

  • If you place 3 inches of rubber mulch — you can count on protection from a fall of up to 5 feet off the ground.
  • If you place 4 inches of rubber mulch — you can count on protection from a fall of up to 7 feet off the ground.
  • If you place 6 inches of rubber mulch — you can count on protection from a fall of up to 12 feet off the ground.
  • However, if you opt for wood mulch — placing 9 inches of mulch only provides you protection from a fall of up to 7 feet off the ground.


Gorgeous Rubber Mulch for Your Playset

Not only will your playset catch your neighbors’ attention, but your color-coordinated mulch will too! Check out the stylish mulch options available from Adventure World Play Sets.

Whether you want to buy a new vinyl playset or swing set, or you need some of the safest mulch for your backyard, we’ve got you covered. Find an Adventure World Play Sets dealer near you today.

Red rubber mulch to make swing sets even safer, from Adventure World Play Sets
Teal rubber mulch from Adventure World Play Sets
recycled rubber mulch makes your child's swing set or play set even safer.
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Our Google Reviews

We are so pleased with this purchase. Our little ones have so enjoyed this play-set. It is so very worth the price, so well-made. I look forward to having grandkids playing on it one day!
Margaret Woods
Margaret Woods
18:49 25 Aug 20
We purchased an Adventure World Vinyl play station from Back Yard Living at end of May. Unit was delivered and installed in the time frame quoted. Adam was very helpful with information on various units and manufacturers. We decided to go with the maintenance free all vinyl clad swing set, play station from Adventure World. Unit was professionally and thoroughly installed yesterday. This unit is extremely well built and solid. Backyard Living was a pleasure to work with and we are extremely satisfied with the product we chose and the company who provided unit and installed I would wholeheartedly recommend Back Yard living as your go to company for your children's play station!!!
Dave Lake
Dave Lake
18:15 08 Jul 20
Purchased a an Adventure World BasecampModel swingset/ play unit from Backyard Living in Richmond,MI. Adam was extremely helpful with information to help me make my decision. Unit was ordered and was delivered and installed in the time frame quoted. Installation was very professional and thorough. We could not be more satisfied with this completely vinyl clad unit, solidly built, great safety features. I would wholeheartedly recommend Backyard Living for your go to company for a swingset/PlayStation!! Dave Troy,MI
Dave Lake
Dave Lake
17:21 08 Jul 20
great quality and value , very professional
charlie tebele
charlie tebele
16:04 05 Jun 20
You will not be disappointed with these sets! We have had one for 11 years now, just washed it off with soap and a garden hose after winter and looks like it did when new! It might seem like quite an investment upfront but is worth it. We bought when we had our first son and now have 4 kids playing on it! Our grandkids will use this set someday. Worth every dollar we spent on it!
Mark Gingerich
Mark Gingerich
01:39 12 Apr 20
Awesome, sturdy and affordable equipment coupled with great customer service. A win win for our preschool!
Karen Bowermaster
Karen Bowermaster
18:38 19 Sep 19