Swing sets bring hours of backyard entertainment for your family, but may also bear visits to urgent care if accidents occur. Sixty-seven percent of playground injuries involve falls from equipment, resulting in fractures, concussions, or lacerations. So having a safe \u201cfall zone\u201d under your swing set is a key safety factor in eliminating potential accidents.\r\n\r\nInstead of installing your swing set right onto your grassy lot, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the following process for adding a base surface to create a safe play space:\r\n\r\nStart with the original surface (hard packed earth)\r\nAdd 3- to 6-inch base layer of loose-fill gravel (for drainage)\r\nCover with a Geotextile cloth\r\nFinish with a loose-fill protective layer (rubber mulch, wood mulch, sand)\r\nThere are a lot of ground cover options for your backyard play set. We offer rubber mulch as a base surface for all of the swing sets we sell. Many people don\u2019t understand the benefits of choosing rubber mulch as ground cover instead of wood mulch, grass, or other options. We hear many questions about rubber mulch safety and we\u2019re sharing the answers below.\r\n\r\nIs rubber mulch safe?\r\nFederal agencies including the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the U.S. Testing Company, as well as independent and accredited testing firms, have conducted many studies measuring the shock-absorption of numerous surfaces in relation to falling objects. Consistently, rubber mulch has proven to be the most shock-absorbent standard safety surface.\r\n\r\nBefore installing a rubber mulch base, our experts recommend clearing the ground completely of rocks, debris, and stumps. We also suggest completely removing any old surfacing material. When left on the ground, old materials may continue to rot or attract insects. Old surface materials may also reduce the shock-absorption level of rubber mulch as they make their way to the surface and mix with the rubber chips.\r\n\r\nIn addition, rubber mulch:\r\n\r\nis cleaner, reducing the dirt, mud, and insects in your backyard\r\nnever rots or decomposes\r\nis 99.9% steel-free\r\nis non-toxic, non-abrasive, and non-staining\r\nIs rubber mulch cost-effective?\r\nIn the long run, rubber mulch will save you money over other base surfaces. Although the initial investment may be slightly more costly, rubber mulch won\u2019t need to be replaced for a lifetime.\r\n\r\nUnlike wood mulch chips or sand which need to be replaced on a regular basis, rubber mulch will not be disturbed or stripped away by typical strong winds and rain. Rubber mulch is too heavy to be significantly impacted by the weather.\r\n\r\nAdditionally, the vulcanizing process that all tires undergo renders them basically indestructible. Since rubber mulch is made of 100% tire rubber, it cannot decompose.\r\n\r\nIs rubber mulch toxic?\r\nRubber mulch is non-toxic. Although it is unlikely to be swallowed, if a child or pet should accidentally ingest it, studies have shown that the chips pass straight through the digestive systems of humans and animals. (Maryland Environmental Services, 1994)\r\n\r\nOur colored rubber mulch chips are safe as well. They are manufactured using specially-formulated, non-toxic paints for rubber.\r\n\r\nHow much rubber mulch will I need?\r\nWhen determining how much rubber mulch to order for your new swingset, remember these general guidelines:\r\n\r\nFor maximum safety, your base layer of rubber mulch should be 6 inches deep. (If using wood mulch, you would need a layer that\u2019s 12 inches deep)\r\nBuild out a \u201cuse\u201d or \u201cfall\u201d zone with a protective base layer that expands an additional 6-8 feet in all directions around all your play equipment.\r\nOur partners at Swing Kingdom have created a Rubber Mulch Calculator to help you determine how much rubber mulch is necessary for your play area.\r\n\r\nAre you ready to build a backyard swing set that your kids will go crazy over? Check out our vinyl and wooden swing sets and rubber mulch safety options.