What is an HIC Score and How Do I Measure It?

What is an HIC Score and How Do I Measure It?

HIC Rating System

HIC is a rating system to test the safety of a recreational surface. The primary goal of safety surfacing on a playground is to prevent any fatal injuries during play with a focus on head-related injuries, which is exactly what HIC is meant to measure and regulate. HIC stands for Head Impact Criteria and is very important to take into account when installing your surfacing. It is a measurement of time duration of head deceleration during impact. 

A surface’s HIC score is quantified numerically with a passing score registering below 1,000 HIC. Regardless of the type of surfacing, or size/height of a playground, the same score must be reached in order to be compliant. While playground safety regulations only require surfacing areas within the use zone of equipment with a fall height it is recommended that your entire play space be properly surfaced to promote safe play. Head injuries are the most significant type of injuries on playgrounds and are most frequently caused by falling on a surface. Children under the age of 4 are more likely to suffer from head injuries and most recorded playground fall-related deaths occur from children sustaining head injuries. This is why it is important that playgrounds must meet a passing score below 1000 HIC. 

HIC Drop Test

Now that we understand the what, let’s talk about the how. HIC scores are determined by a drop test. A machine is used to drop a spherical piece of metal (imitating a child’s head) with technology inside it that registers a score based on the impact. Typically this test is performed multiple times across multiple areas of the playground to capture enough information to determine a score. These services are usually completed by a third-party to ensure accuracy.

Written By: Guest