Photo by G. J. Charlet III at Flickr
Swing sets and playsets are mostly used from kids. This should be telling you enough by itself: safety is extremely important. It’s a top priority even over features and price.
How to recognize the safe swing set at the store? How to keep your existing swing safe for longer time? How to build a safe swing set yourself? How to safely use it? To learn this and the other aspects of swing set safety keep reading the article.
Swing Set Safety Planning
The right approach to swing set safety is to carefully plan before you even buy the tool. When choosing the location, make sure it will be large enough, properly drained, flat and with appropriate shape.
There should be enough space around the swing set when your kids are using it. Of course you must have in mind what kind of swing or playset will they prefer – this depends on their interests and habits.
A good idea is to surface the are area with gravel and/or sand which is deep enough. Good green grass is also an excellent choice but you will have to maintain it and keep it from prickly weeds. And think about what will happen in the sunny winter days when there is no grass. Sand is better choice. At any costs avoid installing the swing set on a concrete platform – falling on such isn’t nice at all.
It’s recommended that you buy equipment which meets the Home Playground Standard ASTM-1148.
Safety Considerations When Buying or Building A Swing Set
Once site planning is done, you may consider buying or building the swing set. There are several aspects of safety that you have to consider at this stage:
- Safe equipment. The equipment used in your playset should be suitable for their age. A lot of the accidents at the playground happen because young children use equipment which is intended for older kids. Economically it’s often a wise decision to buy the equipment for years ahead at once, but if you do that make sure to remove or hide those tools that are not suitable for your kids.
- Distances and number of tools. The more tools and features a swing set has and the closer they are placed to each other, the more riskier it becomes. Of course it’s nice to have a playset with many things and kids like that but it becomes easier to hit a hand or wedge up a finger in some of them. You should prefer cleaner and more elegant sets with enough distance between the swings. It’s recommended that this distance is at least 22 inches.
- Quality of materials and parts. Most parents are concerned if the playset is stable enough. But I have never seen one that falls apart and thus injured the kid. More often than that the swing set hard parts are not well protected and expose dangerous sharp points. So rather than getting obsessed by the weight sustainability pay more attention whether the parts ares mooth or properly covered.
The quality of the wood, metal or plastic used for the swing is also important.
Ongoing Safety Supervision
After you have chosen a proper location, prepared a smooth surface and bought/built a good safe swing set the swing set safety becomes a question of ongoing supervision and teaching the children to use the tool safely. If it is large and stable enough, use it together with them to show them how to swing without falling from the seat.
Depending on the kids age you may want to supervise them each time when they use the playset. This can be time consuming but it’s also a good way to have more fun with them and feel really safe.
You need to regularly check the chains, swings, sliders, nuts and bolts for deterioration, cracks and tightness. Tighten up the bolts when needed and replace equipment when it shows first symptoms of damage.
Refrain children from climbing on the swing set when wet, when the weather is inappropriate or when they are not dressed safely (any too loose dresses are potentially hazardous when using such kind of tools).
The key here is to find the balance between teaching the kids about safety risks and at the same time keeping most concerns away of them so they don’t get frightened but remain reasonable. Don’t forget outdoor swinging should be more about fun than about anything else!