As the parent of a child with special needs, I am especially sensitive to the need for a safe playground environment. It's not something that I talk about a lot, but when Aaron was in Kindergarten, he as assaulted by another student on the playground, and he got a concussion. The anxiety that resulted from this situation still plagues him, but we are taking steps to help him work through and resolve that. He also has as part of his Aspergers a co-ordintion problem, and he doesn't have to instinctive reflexes to catch himself if he falls or is pushed down. So, it is imperative that the surface of any playground he plays on is safe.
One type of material that some playgrounds use as a safe playground surface is rubber mulch. The Rubber mulch from Rubberecycle has a new unique mixture of granular rubber particles that is made up of shredded rubber, and rubber chunks and nuggets. It's also really good for the environment because it is using recycled materials. This company even supplied their material for the playground at the White House that the First Family uses.
I am curious as to what other school playgrounds use for safe, environmentally friendly materials. I'd love for anyone to leave me comments about what they use, and how well it works for your situation.
Also, when I was just looking at the website for this company, I saw that they feature it as landscape mulch as well, which is something that hasn't ever occurred to me. Currently our front little area that used to have flowers and plants before I killed them all (I have a black thumb for plants :/) has small pebbles and rocks over black plastic. Under the weeds of course, LOL. But when cutting the grass/weeds this summer those rocks and pebbles would cause nicks and cuts in legs, so we've been considering what we could replace it with. This might be a good direction to go with it!