Swing Set Safety
Having made the decision to get a swing set or play set for your kids, the last thing that you would want to have happen is a serious accident that totally takes away from the experience. While accidents can and will happen no matter how much we try to prevent them, there are some basic precautionary measures that you can take to minimize the risk of serious injury resulting from an accident on a swing set. There are four major areas that you should focus on when putting safety measures in place to avoid accidents.
If you have a set that is poorly designed or constructed, no amount of precautionary measures that you take will prevent an accident. When selecting, ensure that there is more than 22 inches separating each swing. Children sometimes do not have the level of control to keep the swing steady, especially if they are going fast, which can result in collision. Where slides are concerned, the length of the slide should be no longer than ten feet. For the sets with the upper deck or clubhouse, these units should be no more than five feet away from the ground so that the average adult will have access to the area while standing. Ensure that all nuts and bolts on the set are recessed and not jutting out. Make sure that you buy a set that is appropriate for the age of the child. For example, toddlers should not be allowed to use sets designed for older children.
Installation and Safety
If the swing is not properly installed, this is a recipe for disaster. The first safety precaution is to make sure that the swing set is placed on a level area. It is also important that it is properly anchored by the means recommended for the type of swing set. Metal swing sets, for example, need to be cemented into the ground, and other types of units use anchors to keep the base secure to the ground. Make sure that the anchors are properly installed and that they are recessed into the ground so that they do not become a trip hazard. It is critical that a soft landing area be placed under the entire unit, or at the very least, under the areas where a child may fall to the ground. The base can be made from a variety of materials that will cushion the fall such as a rubberized surface, sand, mulch, or pea gravel.
The number one safety precaution is that an adult must be present when the swing set is being used. There is no compromise on this one as the minutes that it takes for you to be alerted to a problem and the time to reach the swing set could be the difference between life and death. Where very small children are concerned, the chains for swings should be adjusted so that it is impossible for them to swing themselves. Another tips is that the swing set should not be used by more children that recommended by the manufacturer, so if it’s rated for 5 children, do not allow 6 children to use it at the same time. You should also pay attention to the weight restrictions.
All swing sets, regardless of construction material, should be inspected regularly to check for any damage to the unit. For those that need to be refinished, this should be done without delay. Remember also to inspect the base material. Mulch and sand should be inspected and changed as needed and be sure to check rubberized surfaces and mats for any signs of damage.