Playgrounds can be dangerous places. It’s preferred that children be active playing than in stationary activities, and when they want something to do outside it takes just a minute for a child to disappear in a public place. Safety tips are well advised but things can happen quickly in a crowd. Take control! Consider a swing set and outdoor play area right in their own back yard but consider safety tips while planning it!
Of course with a swing set there is the chance for injury. We can minimize the risk but unfortunately not eliminate it. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while designing your child’s play area.
Use sand or shredded rubber to keep mud to a minimum and decrease the chance of slipping as well as cushion the fall around the swings. Secure the swing set solidly into the ground to prevent movement or collapse. If you use chains for the swing keep them in good condition and ideally use the ones with plastic to prevent the chain from pinching fingers. An option for already installed chains is using leaky hoses cut and wrapped around the chain, securely taping in place. Some get around this by using heavy rope but that can wear. Another option is using foam insulation around it, but this is much less durable.
If your swing set has a slide make sure there are no splinters and if it is metal have it in the shade to prevent burns during the summer heat. If you have monkey bars’ or a rope ladder near the swing set pay special attention to having a cushion material under that area. A solid heavy climbing rope used to be a playground standard in many areas and is still a climbing exercise for kids of all sizes. Knots in it help younger children get the knack of climbing.
Small children and sometimes older ones like to play in sand but outside especially with pets around it can be problematic. Some safety tips for those with cats and children include making an actual sand box. Large tractor tires aren’t as easy to come by anymore in many areas but you can make a frame with 1X6″ lumber and have a custom made sandbox, with a lid that fits over it to keep cats from using it as a litter box.
For even more safety tips consider homemade vs. a commercially made product. For example, rope ladders 36 inches wide with marine grade rope and hardwood dowels come ready to install for $60. Smaller 18 inch wide ones are about $40. If you make your own insure the materials are strong enough to bear the weight and abuse doled out to them.
A swing set can also offer a variety a seat swing, disc swing, trapeze bar and climbing rope or ladder, giving children a variety of things to do. Many design a larger swing set to allow adult sized swings also!
If you aren’t using a stationary swing set and making do with the trees in the yard make sure to consider safety tips when selecting the branches to tie the swing to. Insure they are solid and consider using climbing areas, swings appropriate to the age of the child and mulch around the high traffic areas for extra cushion.
A swing set can provide much activity and exercise for children right in their back yard that is better than going to public areas and without the playground bully to steal the swing time! Keep common sense safety tips in mind, consult a variety of sites and plans for the design of the swing set and tailor it to your children’s interests. It’s a can’t miss combination!