Specialized in Playground Surfacing, Landscape Mulches, and Compost
Ensuring Adequate Cushioning With Engineered Wood Fiber
October 13, 2023

Playgrounds are cherished havens of childhood delight, yet ensuring the safety of young adventurers is of utmost importance. Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF) emerges as a pivotal component in crafting playgrounds that balance fun with safety, delivering exceptional impact absorption to mitigate the risk of injuries.

This article embarks on an exploration of the essential EWF depth recommendations, as stipulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) guidelines, illuminating the path to securing a playground environment where joy and safety harmoniously coexist.

Understanding Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF)

Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF) stands out as a favored option for playground surfacing, primarily owing to its natural aesthetics, affordability, and remarkable impact-absorbing properties. Its effectiveness hinges on achieving the correct depth, making it a vital component in ensuring playground safety. EWF offers the perfect blend of visual appeal and practicality, creating a cushioning layer that softens the impact of falls, thus reducing the risk of injuries. This balance of natural charm, cost efficiency, and safety enhancement makes EWF an indispensable choice for those committed to creating secure and inviting playground environments.

Residential vs. Commercial Playgrounds

Residential and commercial playgrounds have distinct guidelines, but both prioritize the safety of children.

Recommended Depth: 6-12 Inches depending on the regulations in different States.

The recommended depth of EWF depends on the different age groups and fall heights:

  • For infants and toddlers, the playgrounds are smaller with low fall height. Recommended depth is at least 6 inches.

  • For the children between 2-5 age group the fall height of playground is little higher. Recommended depth is at least 9 inches.

  • For the children between 5-12 age group the fall height of playground is even higher to accommodate their age and strength. Recommended depth is at least 12 inches or more.


Engineered Wood Fiber (EWF) is made from natural or recycled wood resources. It has about 20-25% compaction rate. It is highly recommended to install at least 25% more material to achieve recommended depth as per the guidelines. For example: To give 12 inches depth, it is recommended to install 15 inches because after compaction it will become 12 inches.

CPSC Guidelines: Never Less than 9 Inches

The CPSC has stringent standards for playground safety. They strongly advise never using less than 9 inches of EWF as loose fill surfacing. This guideline ensures that even in case of a fall, there's ample cushioning to reduce the risk of injury.

Additional Safety Tips

  • Regular Maintenance: Periodically inspect and maintain the EWF surface to ensure it remains at the recommended depth and free from debris and hard objects.

  • Proper Installation: Ensure proper installation and grading of the EWF to guarantee even coverage and sufficient cushioning.

  • Signage and Barriers: Consider adding signs and barriers to prevent access to areas with insufficient EWF or where erosion has occurred.

  • Supervision: Always provide supervision during play to minimize risky behavior.

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In conclusion, creating a safe playground environment involves careful planning and adherence to guidelines. Engineered Wood Fiber, with its excellent cushioning properties, plays a vital role in reducing the risk of fall-related injuries. Prioritizing safety ensures that every playground visit is filled with fun and devoid of unnecessary worries, whether it's in a residential or commercial setting.