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Compared to having no protection at all — or using an outdated material like asphalt — wood mulch is fairly safe.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

The best swingset company, in my opinion! We are an independent contractor that works for a lot of companies. Adventure world swingsets are built very well. They will last more than one generation.
Jay Flaud
Jay Flaud
Reasonable price, great warranty, well installed. Kids will love it1
John Lippert
John Lippert
Amazing quality! Definitely worth the purchase since kids play all day on it!
Isabella Laris Logan
Isabella Laris Logan
Just got a wonderful playset for our preschool. It is fantastic!! It has been an easy experience.
Bethany Brown
Bethany Brown
Great quality playset. Arrived quickly. Installation and communication through J&R Mulch Waynesboro PA was excellent
Allison Hickman
Allison Hickman
If you ever need a swingset installed in your backyard or anywhere, you MUST get it from here.
Steven Rice
Steven Rice
We have been trying to purchase one of these play sets for months and none of the dealers in our area will call us back about purchasing one. I wish the purchasing process was easier than "find a vendor in your local area". No one here wants to build them! The Happy Hideout looks like an amazing product for my toddler to grow into. I'm sad no one will build them or call us back. Edit: The company contacted me personally and found a vendor in my area!
Charlotte Doty
Charlotte Doty
Great people to work with and high quality! Highly recommend, my kids love their new play house!
Ashley McGinnis
Ashley McGinnis